Can an entire neighborhood commercial corridor be uplifted if enough business owners freshen up their building facades? That's the hope brewing along Torresdale Avenue in Tacony where a new facade improvement program is just taking off.
Back in June I took a walk on Torresdale Avenue with Tacony CDC Corridor Manager Alex Balloon as he was drumming up interest in the new facade improvement program
, a joint venture of Tacony CDC and the Commerce Department. It turns out that a lot of business owners along Torresdale Avenue, from Robbins Street to Cottman Avenue, are interested in at least exploring how they might improve the look of their buildings and give the Avenue greater curb appeal. This year Tacony CDC developed design guidelines
[pdf] with plain-language recommendations for improvements along the commercial corridor.
This summer 21 businesses owners applied to participate in the facade improvement program
and started working with designers to come up with ways to spruce up and restore storefronts and upper stories. Tacony CDC
is covering early design costs, and engaged the architectural services of Fon and Ignatius Wang, of UCI Architects, and Ray Brogden to work with owners. Back in July the Community Design Collaborative, through its rStore program, held a Design Day at the Tacony Library
with Tacony CDC where volunteer designers helped business owners reimagine their building facades.
Angie DeNofa, owner of DeNofa's Italian Deli and Catering
(6944-46 Torresdale Ave), participated in the Design Day said she was so pleased with the ideas for her shop that she wouldn't change a thing. She is especially excited about the possibility of returning the facade of her building to its original brickwork, as well as adding new windows, awnings, lighting, and signage. Here's a peek at changes that could come for DeNofa's: