There are two sides to every coin, every story and, in Philadelphia’s case, every neighborhood.
Brewerytown is ground zero for all of the above.
If you were to start on Girard Avenue at any point between 25th and 29th Street and walk three or four blocks to the left and then right, it seems like two different worlds loosely defined not just by geographical boundaries but by race and socio-economic statuses as well.
You might find yourself scratching your head. How could Brewerytown be the best neighborhood in the city?
The truth is, it depends on whom you ask here. Over the course of the last 10 years, Brewerytown has undergone intense transformation.
I first encountered the neighborhood as a senior journalism student at Temple University in 2012. At the time, I lived at a 22nd and Diamond — sandwiched between a liquor store and a funeral home — a few blocks away from the Brewerytown threshold at 22nd and Cecil B. Moore. I was assigned to cover the area for Philadelphia Neighborhoods, Temple’s capstone course.
During that time, I met with the Greater Brewerytown Community Development Corp., local residents,and the team over at MM Partners — a real estate development, construction and management company that had already invested about $45 million into the neighborhood (according to the Philadelphia Business Journal, the partners are now planning to invest an additional $60 million).
While I found the GBCDC and MM Partners’ plans to be relatively aligned and well-intentioned, the residents’ perspectives generally went one of two ways: They loved all the new developments and the impending “bright future” (usually from the “newbies”), or it was all a clear example of the city’s push toward gentrifying the inner city, in which case, they felt rather powerless in preventing it.
– Sincerely Syreeta
Photo Credit: All photos credited to Thom Carroll for PhillyVoice.com