Judging from the surprised look on his face, Mayor Jim Kenney wasn’t expecting confetti canon that exploded into the unseasonably warm Nov. 1 air, commemorating an official ribbon-cutting for East Market.
We were also a bit surprised — not so much by the confetti, but because the project is still unfinished. Despite the event’s billing as a “grand opening celebration” for Phase 1 of the Center City mixed-used complex, even that initial segment of the four-acre, $800 million urban retail center is far from complete. Originally announced as part of this first phase, City Fitness, Federal Donuts and District Taco all have yet to open, with launch dates pushed into 2019.
However, in the four years since the massive revitalization effort was announced, it has certainly come a long way.
“I was skeptical,” said city planning and development director Anne Fadullon. “Do they really think they can create these and reopen up these blocks and through-streets?,” she remembered thinking. “I hope they can make it, but we’re not going to be surprised if something goes wrong.”
Fadullon looked around, taking in the gleaming LEED-certified skyscraper full of offices and 560 apartments, the 35-foot-wide pedestrian walkway, and the various retail and restaurants that now cover the blocks between 11th and 12th, Market and Chestnut. “But here we are today,” she said. “I want to thank National Real Estate Advisors for reminding Philadelphia to believe in themselves,”
So far, doors are officially open at:
- The Ludlow
- The Girard
- 1100 Ludlow
- ROOST Apartment Hotel
- T.J. Maxx
- MOM’S Organic Market
- Iron Hill Brewery
- Little Baby’s Ice Cream
Phases 2 and 3 of East Market may take another three or four years to complete, per Curbed Philly. Additional buildings set to come online include the another residential tower, two mixed-used towers and the renovation and repositioning of the Steven Girard Building.
Once finished and humming with life, they’ll join with The Gallery’s remake as Fashion District Philadelphia to completely transform the entire stretch of Market Street east of City Hall.
Another thing that could totally transform that stretch: shutting it down to car traffic for a huge Eagles-watch block party.
Ok, it might not actually happen, but that is what was suggested by Daniel Killinger, managing director at National Real Estate Advisors. Per Killinger, his dream is to host an Eagles screening, televising the event off of the four luminous digital signs that have created a micro-Times Square aesthetic in the area.
Not sure how this would fly in City Council, but Kenney — who stated that he has been a strong advocate for the project since its inception, and has defended the gargantuan signs — would probably be on board for the tailgate. (Just make sure to tie down the lampposts before the party.)
Then the ribbon was cut, confetti canons went off and everyone parted ways to partake in bites and goodies offered by retail tenants, listen to tunes spun by DJ Diamond Kuts, join a pop-up class hosted by City Fitness and get their sketch drawn by an artist.