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Healthy Corridors, Healthy Neighborhoods

Fairmount CDC Releases 2018 Healthy Corridors, Healthy Neighborhoods Report

The report examines the demographic characteristics of the residential and workforce populations within a ½ mile radius of the Fairmount Avenue and West Girard Avenue corridors. That data and analysis will be used to help determine the appropriate types of commercial activity that will likely succeed along each corridor and add to the overall vibrancy of those avenues. Furthermore, it provides a baseline in which to track the overall health and performance of our corridors over time. To learn more, view the highlight below, or download the full report to your right.

Fairmount Avenue Retail Mix

The Fairmount Avenue commercial corridor is home to more than 100 storefronts representing a diverse range of offerings across categories. Food and beverage represents the largest category at nearly 23% of all storefronts. Within this category, a healthy portion of these establishments provide full-service experiences that contribute to the corridor’s sense of vibrancy. Retail offerings represent the second largest category while a significant cluster of personal care establishments represent the third largest storefront category. A growing cluster of medically-oriented storefronts also emerge as a trend along the corridor.

In addition to a healthy and growing retail mix, Fairmount Avenue benefits from significant employers and institutions nearby stabilizing the daytime population, despite a signficant number of residents who leave the district to work each day. 

At the time of this survey, the corridor was home to a vacancy rate of over 10%. We expect to see that vacancy rate decline quickly as renewed private-sector interest redevelops large mixed-use properties along the east end of the corridor. Unlike West Girard Avenue, Fairmount Avenue struggles with inconsistent first floor uses creating a bifurcated user experience. Interventions to unify the corridor from Broad Street to Fairmount Park can help improve the overall user experience and encourage new commercial activity in vacant storefronts.

West Girard Avenue Retail Mix

The West Girard Avenue commercial corridor is home to more than 90 storefronts composed mostly of retail, food and beverage, and personal care businesses. With a vacancy rate of around 20%, opportunity exists to significantly adjust the retail mix without losing current offerings. While a significant portion of West Girard Avenue’s tenants are food and beverage providers, this category could stand to benefit from increased full-service experiences.

With a net population decrease during daytime hours (more residents leave the district to go to work, then enter the district to work), opportunity exists for businesses catering to an after 5:00 PM audience. This would likely support increased evening pedestrian activity and overall economic stability of the corridor. 

Home to SEPTA’s historic 15 trolley, connecting destinations like the Philadelphia Zoo to high-growth neighborhoods like Northern Liberties and Fishtown, as well as dense commercial storefronts and wide sidewalks, West Girard Avenue benefits from a strong foundation for continued growth.  Creative incentives and robust technical assistance to entrepreneurs and small business owners will help improve the overall performance of the corridor.

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