A new 7-story residential and commercial building is likely coming to the Italian Market, and it has some residents concerned.
The project, which is being overseen by New York-based Midwood Investment and Development, calls for 157 apartments across seven stories, with 15,000 square feet of retail on the first floor. It also has plans for an underground garage with 48 private and 72 public parking spaces. The whole development will go in at the south corner of Washington, on the intersection with 9th Street, which is now occupied by both Anastasi Sea Food and an empty lot.
But it’s the latter part of the project that has some Italian Market-area residents worried. The plan calls for driveways leading from 9th street into the underground garage, thus opening into a street now taken up by the southern portion of the market.
In a Civic Design Review (CDR) meeting last week, residents voiced their opinions and opposition to the project, specifically signaling out that driveway, which they say will negatively affect the pedestrian nature of the southern half of the market.
Some said the congestion—with drivers having to get past the popular Pats and Genos corner of 9th Street—will not only be a negative for walkers and shoppers in the area, but will also increase driving time and car pollution. Others worried about a precedent set by having a driveway leading onto 9th Street, worrying that this project will lead others to try developing the street and creating their own driveways onto 9th, thus increasing congestion in the area.
The Italian Market is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, and many worry this project—and the garage entrance specifically—will lead to the southern part of the market’s eventual downfall. At the very least, residents are concerned that it will significantly impact the pedestrian-heavy nature of the market.
Many Philadelphians—whether from South Philly or not—love the market, and so we want to turn the mic over to you. Do you think this project could alter the nature of the neighborhood? How could the plan continue without affecting the market? Alternatively, would a development like this be a boon to the neighborhood, creating businesses and growth where there was only a blighted lot before?
Sound off in the comments below.