by Christian Regosch
Back in September we highlighted the economic improvement we’ve help lead over the past three years for Tacony. We found that our work created 32 jobs and fostered over 1.2 million dollars in public and private investment along our section of the Torresdale Avenue Commercial Corridor. Since that time we’ve notice an overall uptick in property conditions, cleanliness, and attitude from our businesses and residents. As we near completion of the first phase of the storefront improvement program and with another nine months under our belts we felt it was appropriate to see what we’ve accomplished and where our new investment is heading.
Public Investment Leads the Charge
Our hallmark program has been the storefront improvement program where we’ve helped 15 stores upgrade their fronts, mostly concentrated in the northern section of Torresdale Avenue. The biggest impact of this program can be seen at the 6900 block of Torresdale Avenue where four of the six stores have upgraded their storefronts making a clean and inviting place to shop and walk. In the upcoming months we’ll begin to work with businesses in other sections of the Torresdale Avenue corridor to create the same effect. We estimate that this second phase of the store front improvement program will bring in another 1 million dollars to our community resulting in nearly 2 million dollars of investment over this entire 4 year period.
In addition to storefront improvement we have moved to recapture Torresdale Avenue’s historic tree canopy by planting new trees along the avenue. The previous canopy was poorly maintained and eventually withered away destroying one of Tacony’s best aesthetic features. The tree plantings had a start-up cost of 5,000 dollars, and in twenty years we’ll hopefully reap its rewards. Also we have new lamp banners and sidewalk improvements coming to our avenue. These banners and sidewalk improvements will make Tacony more walkable and inviting completing another small step to our long-term vision for the neighborhood.
Private Investment is Picking Up
The biggest take away from our recent economic analysis is that private business investment is starting to pick up. We estimate that private businesses have spent over $360,000 along our corridor over the past nine months alone. This is major boost for our community for two reasons. First private money comes as no cost to the tax payer, meaning money can now be directed to other issues throughout the city and our community.
Secondly, more private investment means more people are seeing the assets and potential of Tacony. Our effective vacancy rate is near an all-time low, meaning more businesses are looking to our area as one that is growing and can help their bottom line. Eight new businesses are opening or planning to open in the near future, giving us a net gain of 5 businesses over this time period. This private investment is a true realization of our efforts and that other people and businesses are buying into our vision of Tacony.
New Businesses are Making Jobs
One of the best things about increased investment is it leads to new jobs and opportunities for residents. Over the past nine months 5 new businesses have brought in 24 new jobs to Tacony, resulting in more people walking our avenue, and potentially spending money at other businesses. Also these new opportunities help stabilize our community making it attractive for further development and investment.
With all our success we did lose three businesses along the avenue resulting in 4 jobs lost. Although it’s never good to see a business closed down we still had a positive net gain in businesses and jobs . Our efforts have made Tacony a more resilient place to do business and a better place to live.
Through our work with the city, our local business owners, and residents the Tacony CDC has been able to spur an estimated investment of 1.35 million dollars over the past nine months and for the duration of the second phase of our store front improvement program. We can see that our community is building steam to the larger revitalization of Tacony from a place that encourages lack of investment to one that spurs investment.