NKCDC, Philadelphia LISC, LISC MetroEdge
Larisa Ortiz Associates prepared a comprehensive district diagnostic and developed a district action plan for the East Girard Corridor in Fishtown, Philadelphia, The project included market and retail analysis, community outreach, and business/property owner feedback which led to an action plan and the identification of low-cost, high-impact early action items. LOA also provided coaching assistance during implementation.
Our recommendations took the form of a “Model Block” program – a form of concentrated “placemaking”. The block that was selected was mostly vacant but offered a concentration of continuous retail storefronts (with opportunities for window displays), ground floor vacancies, and buildings with “good bones”. The effort was intended to draw shoppers to an underutilized section of the street through eye-catching storefront designs and by turning the fence along a vacant lot into a seating area. The team also created a pamphlet for property owners and retailers along the longer retail corridor that explains how they can easily and inexpensively incorporate façade improvements into their own storefronts.
Following the diagnostic, LOA managed the distribution of $20k in seed money from PNC Bank and worked with the client to gain property owner buy-in, select an architect to prepare drawings and construction, and supported PR efforts within the local market.
Due to this effort, there is now a new commercial node on the block which includes a concentration of five new businesses (including two restaurants), and a new three-story building on a previously vacant lot. This section of the block is now an active node along the corridor and has brought economic activity to the district.