Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Will a large, vacant, South Philadelphia lot go from some overgrown weeds to an arts market?
That's the question posed by Flying Kite.
If you drive just south of City Hall, on South Broad St, you are now along Philadelphia's famed Avenue of the Arts. If you drive for about a 1/2 mile, all you will see is progress: preserved historic architecture, performance venues, restaurants, shops, and the like.
If you drive about another 1/4 mile, you will see more of the same, along with: South Street, new high-rises, new construction in progress ... and again, the like. Once you hit about 1 mile south of City Hall, things kind of stop.
Don't get me wrong, there is still plenty of activity from Washington Ave down south, but it's not as consistent as your initial drive. In fact, a lot of it feels stuck-in-time.
One particular eyesore that may catch your attention is just as you approach Washington Ave, on the northeast corner of Washington & Broad. It's a large vacant lot, and it looks like crap. Although, there is another large lot on the northwest corner as well, so it's easy to get turned around.
Enter, Elisabeth Garson.
Now, what was once a vacant lot that hosted the likes of Cirque du Soleil shows in South Philly, may potentially become what is now being referred to as The Philadelphia Arts Market.
So, what is The Philadelphia Arts Market you ask?
Well, there aren't a lot of fine details on the big TPAM vision just yet, but here's what I have learned thus far:
- It will be an outdoor/open-air market of all things art, flea, craft, food, and entertainment.
- It will be seasonal, most likely running from March-September.
- It will host anywhere from 300-500 different vendors.
- It will have lots of food trucks, along with a designated eating area.
- Its funding will come from local/national sponsors, as well as vendor fees.
In theory it sounds awesome, but there are a few roadblocks currently in the way.
First, the large lot is currently owned by an investment group from NYC; bummer. Second, getting enough community support for a venture this large will take lots of time and effort; downer. And third, getting all of Philadelphia's local politicians on board can be tough; drag.
But don't worry, all hope is not lost for projects this forward-thinking in Philadelphia. A lot of what gets done around here is created through a more organic/grassroots approach. IMHO, I think the idea is perfect for the space, and I feel like it would probably be a big success.
I'll keep you all posted on more information, as soon as I see it.