Development in Art Museum neighborhood includes market, luxury apartments

 The former Best Western on 22nd Street is being demolished to make way for luxury apartments and a bigger Whole Foods Market. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

The former Best Western on 22nd Street is being demolished to make way for luxury apartments and a bigger Whole Foods Market. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Philadelphia’s Art Museum neighborhood will soon be home to a new mixed-use development. The massive project, called “Rodin Square,” will include a much-anticipated grocery store at Pennsylvania Avenue and 22nd Street.

The $160 million project will include nearly 300 luxury apartments as well as 85,000 square feet of retail space.

Spring Garden Civic Association President Justino Navarro said the project is a sign of progress in his community.

“I think it’s awesome,” he said. “The project represents another key milestone in the continuing development and investment of the Spring Garden and Logan Square communities.”

Developer and investor Neal Rodin cited an old adage when talking about the prime real estate.

“There’s three words in real estate … location, location, location,” he said. “This is probably one of the best locations in the city.”

Rodin said this is almost like a suburban site because it’s so close to Fairmount Park’s abundant greenery and the water.

“Yet, you’re a 10-minute walk into the heart of the city.”

The size of the parcel is also significant, Rodin said.

“Normally, most sites that are being developed throughout the city, you’re lucky if they’re on an acre of land. And that means basically your design is totally vertical,” he said. “The three acres allowed us to do probably the first true ‘mixed use development.'”

The retail plan includes a new, bigger Whole Foods Market. Many neighborhood residents are eager for a change from modest size and traffic problems of the current grocery store.

Because of construction of a new road within the complex and the addition of designated parking for the Whole Foods Market, Rodin said, there will be fewer traffic problems at the new site.

The retail and luxury apartment project is being built by Dalian Development and Rodin’s International Financial Company. The companies broke ground on the mixed-use development, called Rodin Square, earlier this week.

The project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2016.

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