$43M project aims to redevelop North Broad

February 8, 2011 3:53:22 PM PST
A $43-million redevelopment is coming to North Philadelphia.

The old Wilkie car dealership and the former industrial building behind it is being turned into rental apartments and commercial space including a ballroom and 2 new restaurants, one from restaurateur Stephen Starr and another from Marc Vetri, who opened Osteria just a block away 3 years ago.

"I have built restaurants in neighborhoods that weren't exactly booming at the time and not only do the customers come, but other businesses come," Starr said.

"I honestly don't understand why some other restaurants haven't actually followed us up here. I mean I've been waiting, where is everybody?" Vetri said.

"There's such a plethora of great old buildings on North Broad Street. We're not going to rest until they're all converted to viable use," developer Eric Blumenthal said.

Mayor Nutter says the project will create 150 construction jobs and 230 new, permanent jobs by September.

"Stable jobs, many are good entry level jobs that will help folks get out of their tough circumstances and get back into the workforce," Nutter said.

In another event that's part of what the mayor calls "Jobs Week," pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline announced it's consolidating operations and moving its 1,300 jobs from Center City to the Navy Yard, where it will build an $80-million eco-friendly headquarters.

"It will be open, it will have every amenity they will need and obviously allow them to perform at the level they do," GSK North American President Deirdre Connelly said.

Tomorrow, the retailer Urban Outfitters will announce it's expanding at the Navy Yard, a move that will bring 1,000 new jobs to Philadelphia over the next 3 years.