Jun. 2, 2016 12:29 pm

Fairmount CDC just released a report on its neighborhoods’ health

The community development corporation has been working for the past six months to determine which businesses might do best on its main commercial stretches.

Healthy Corridors, Healthy Neighborhoods.

(Screenshot via Fairmount CDC)

The results are in.

Yesterday, Fairmount CDC released the culmination of six months of original research. “Healthy Corridors, Healthy Neighborhoods” is a report meant to discern the viability of its two main commercial corridors — Fairmount and West Girard avenues, from Eastern State Penitentiary to Fairmount Park — using publicly available demographic and local employment data as well as the help of 11 volunteers.

Executive Director Kevin Moran hopes to use the report to attract the types of businesses most likely to succeed in the area by looking at who’s spending time there and what businesses are already succeeding.

“How can we leverage this course to define the neighborhood?” Moran told us at the start of the research period. (He also emphasized his desire for other CDC leaders to replicate this research in their own neighborhoods at our January meetup.)

Download the report

Moran was surprised by two points in the results.

“The amount of workers entering the Fairmount Avenue corridor was significantly higher than I was expecting, and will certainly be an area of further research,” he wrote in an email. The daytime population of that stretch clocked in at 37,055, while the total population sits at only 28,600.

Within a half-mile of Fairmount Avenue, “there are a number [of] significant employers (Phila. Museum of Art, School District of Philadelphia, Community College of Philadelphia and others), which presents a welcomed challenge of sorts for us, which is to convince those workers to spend time (and money) along Fairmount Avenue.”

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And two, the retail vacancy rate along Fairmount Avenue was expected to be lower — it sat at a whopping 23 percent at the time of data collection. (Girard Avenue’s vacancy rate is 25 percent.)

Since then, though, “two significant mixed-use projects have been completed, which will single-handedly lower the vacancy rate by about 5%,” Moran said. “Again, a point of further research will be to understand where vacancy is concentrated along the corridor, and what type of commerce those areas can support.”

Physical copies of the report will be available at the Fairmount CDC table at this weekend’s Fairmount Avenue Arts Crawl.


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