Top 5 Northwest Philadelphia development stories of 2011 — No. 3

In Northwest Philly’s neighborhoods this year, you didn’t have to shop around very far to find tasty stories about land use and development. And some of the meatiest were somehow related to grocery stores — though despite many neighbors’ fervent hopes, not a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe’s among them.

This week, NewsWorks and Plan Philly will bring you five of the juiciest stories among them. Here is the third:

BAKERS CENTRE: For decades now, residents of Nicetown-Tioga had perhaps the fewest options when it came to food shopping. Whether by car or bus, it meant a trip to another neighborhood.

In March, officials and jubilant neighbors broke ground on Bakers Centre, which will bring a 22,000 square-foot retail center anchored by a Brown’s ShopRite to part of the former Tastykake property at Fox and Roberts streets. It’s one of several recent steps to imagine a new future for that area’s former industrial sites, including the Salvation Army’s Kroc Center and Temple Health System nearby on Hunting Park Avenue.

So far the plan, which also calls for a Ross Dress for Less, a Wendy’s, and several other retail tenants, has met a warm welcome, but it offers an interesting quandary: What to do with the former Tastykake factory building, an iconic six-story structure left vacant when the company moved to the Navy Yard in June of 2010. The Bakers Centre plan calls for preservation and re-use of the building, but as yet, it’s unclear what those uses will be.

Coming tomorrow: Venice Island.

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Contact Amy Z. Quinn at azquinn@planphilly.com.

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