Avenue North set to open

Anticipating its Oct. 15 completion date for construction, some stores in the Avenue North complex will open their doors by Nov. 1, according to Brandon Dixon, asset manager for Tower Investments, a Philadelphia-based development company.

A variety of restaurants and stores will move into the 60,000-square-foot retail space located at North Broad Street between
Cecil B. Moore Avenue and Oxford Street. A UPS store, convenience store and Maui Waui, a coffee and frozen treats retailer, will be located on the lower floor of The Edge apartment building.

Businesses in the other buildings include Koja, a Japanese and Korean grill and Qdoba, a Mexican grill. The Foodery, a deli, and the Garden of Hilal, a restaurant, Bank of America and Foot Locker will also be located in the building facing Broad Street along with the Pearl Theatre, a seven-screen movie theater.

The Qdoba Mexican Grill, Bank of America and the Pearl Theatre all have plans to open by Nov. 1, Dixon said. Opening
dates for other stores will vary and depend on each tenant on an individual basis, he said.

Tower Investments, in association with the Redevelopment Authority of Philadelphia, Beech Interplex, Felder and Felder and Councilman Darrell Clarke developed the $75 million project. It is the largest private development in North Philadelphia’s history, according to Tower Investments’ Web site.

According to Dixon, big theater companies were not willing to come to North Philadelphia. Bart Blatstein, Tower Investments’
president, “was willing to take on the management of the Pearl Theatre himself,” Dixon said.

One of the purposes of the project is to rid the area of blight, a major problem throughout North Philadelphia. According to his assistant, Jose Miranda, this is one of Councilman Clarke’s initiatives.

Another purpose is to create jobs and make the institution beneficial to the North Philadelphia community, Dixon said. He credited Beech Interplex, a local nonprofit community services organization, with this accomplishment.

“They were really involved in the participation of the community of the project and hiring people from the neighborhood to work in these places,” Dixon said.

After three other companies failed at the project, the city approached Blatstein, who agreed to take on the challenge.

“It was very discouraging because [the city] had already told [Tower Investments] that three major developers had failed at this project,” Dixon said. “[Blatstein] was able to pull strings. He’s a strong guy and he got the project off the ground.”

Even though the project is nearing completion, Chris Schleyer, a junior finance and real estate major, said he does not think Avenue North will be ready by the expected completion date.
“If you look at the construction workers now, they just seem to be sitting around doing nothing,” Schleyer said.

Harris Zettler, a junior real estate major, said he believes the project will open on schedule.

“I think it’ll be ready,” Zettler said. “I live at The Edge and they’ve been doing a lot of progress since three weeks ago.”

Other students who were asked agreed that the complex would be valuable to the community.

“I actually think it’ll be beneficial to the campus,” said Abby Fallen, a freshman. “It’s going to give different things for the student body to do, yet still be on campus in a safe environment.”

“It’s cool,” said Joe Tran, a senior biology major. “As long as there’s good food.”

Amanda Snyder can be reached at asnyder@temple.edu

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