Five years after Westrum Development built 144 homes in the heart of Brewerytown, some spectators said the sold-out project is close to triggering more private development.
Brewerytown Square, which first opened to residents in 2005, has been called a success for attracting high-income residents to a traditionally low-income neighborhood, despite the fact that developers were forced to auction off the final units.
Community development officials said talks are now ongoing to bring a supermarket to the area — something for which residents have long clamored.
“The big issue right now is land acquisition,” says Angel Coleman, executive director of Girard Coalition Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on revitalizing the commercial corridor on Girard Avenue between I-95 and the Philadelphia Zoo.
The potential supermarket site, which Westrum owns, according to Coleman, has long been vacant. She says other, smaller developers have also shown interest since Brewerytown Square opened.
Kevin Gillen, vice president of Econsult Corp., agrees that it spurred a revitalization.
“While it’s difficult to identify whether the challenges the project encountered after its development were intrinsic to the project, or an outcome of a declining market, there’s no doubt that it has changed the landscape of Brewerytown,” Gillen says.