Planning Commission supports major construction at the Italian Market
Plans to revitalize the Italian Market area made progress this week as the Planning Commission voted to recommend a bill that would greenlight a major construction project, PlanPhilly reported.
The project, led by Midwood Investment & Development of New York, is a five-story, mixed-use development slated to include 70 apartments and 18,000 square feet of street-level retail “that would front Washington Avenue and wrap around 9th Street.” It also includes underground parking.
PlanPhilly reported that developers are planning “to hold another meeting with the community group before the bill goes to a committee hearing in City Council.”
This is just one of several long term proposals to revitalize the Italian Market, an area that in 2000 was certified as blighted by the Planning Commision. Since then, the 9th Street Corridor has been repopulated by Latino and Asian small businesses that have brought the market back to life.
On Sept. 3 AL DÍA News published a cover story that focused on the Mexican merchants — there are about 200 active Mexican businesses in the area — at risk of being displaced over time due to the inevitably higher rents and taxes associated with the new projects.
"I do not know what will happen to the Mexican businesses because big changes are ahead and we're not ready for them. Those who are prepared are going to do better, and the rest are going to have to move to another place," Juan Carlos Romero, owner of Taquitos de Puebla, told AL DÍA.
"As 9th Street merchants (the Mexican community) there isn’t much that we can do, because we are not the owners of the buildings," Romero said. "We have no vote. The only beneficiary will be the owner of the property."