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Welcome back to Brewerytown: Lots of new options for living, business and vitality in 2012

In the 24 years since the last brewery shut down in Brewerytown, the neighborhood has struggled with poverty and crime. Yet, for a neighborhood that so many people wrote off years ago, Brewerytown is making a comeback. This is evident in the development efforts underway on and north of Girard Ave. that Flying Kite wrote about in 2011.
MM Partners has been at the forefront of much of the development in Brewerytown. The exclusively-Brewerytown developer had a busy year trying to attract new residents and businesses to the neighborhood.
On the residential side, MM Partners set up a blog called Brewerytown Living in May to highlight noteworthy happenings for residents throughout the neighborhood. This blog appears to still be thriving with four posts this month about Amazulu, a holiday pop-up shop, Mugshots Café and Coffeehouse, and a toy drive. Also, MM Partners made progress on constructing a new condominium complex at 28th and Thompson Sts., called North 28.
MM Partners and Brewerytown also had a decent year for business development along Girard Ave. A new Bottom Dollar food market at 31st and Girard is on its way to reality, with a groundbreaking planned for early March and an opening scheduled for next autumn. In addition, the developer negotiated to get a taqueria to agree to locate along Girard Ave., with an opening date in late winter or spring of the coming year.
In the midst of all this development, Brewerytown leaders kept an eye on sustainability. MM Partners quickly adopted Olin Studios’ and Interface Design’s internationally renowned Patch/Work ideas for sustainability. According to MM’s Aaron Smith, Brewerytown might be able to implement some of the bold solar energy and guerilla gardening ideas in as little as six to eight months. Also, Marathon Grill opened an urban farm at 27th and Master to provide food for their restaurants. 
Rebecca Johnson, the executive director of the Fairmount CDC, outlined further sustainability efforts in 2011, and beyond. She lauded businesses along Girard Ave. for taking part in a Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) program providing rebates for energy-efficient buildings. She also highlighted some guerilla gardening, where residents or organizations turned abandoned lots into community gardens. She predicted guerilla gardening would remain a trend in 2012, and recommended anyone interested look up abandoned lots on the city Board of Revision of Taxes website.    

Sources: Aaron Smith, MM Partners and Rebecca Johnson, Fairmount CDC
Writer:  Andy Sharpe
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