Blog Commercial NKCDC announces Frankford Avenue green spaces to host community activities all summer

NKCDC is thrilled to announce Cantina la Martina and Mural City Cellars as the new tenants of two open spaces we own along Frankford Avenue: 2211-17 Frankford Avenue and the Garden Center! 

The new tenant at 2211-17 Frankford will be Cantina la Martina, a restaurant in Kensington that celebrates pre-Hispanic Mexican food and connection with Mexican culture and history through gastronomy. At the Garden Center will be Mural City Cellars, Philadelphia’s first urban winery. 

Use of the spaces was determined through a community-centered engagement process that included an open call for proposals, a public meet and greet with finalists, three weeks of collecting in-person and online feedback, an equity evaluation from the NKCDC team, and near neighbor meetups with the two finalists. Other factors were considered too, including economic opportunities for small businesses and the well-being of existing surrounding businesses.

Community-centered decision process

At NKCDC, we believe that residents should be active drivers in any process in their neighborhoods and that communities are strongest when residents are at the center of community planning, implementation, and evaluation.  

In November of 2023, NKCDC issued an open request for proposals seeking a set of partners to increase the use of both spaces and that aligned with NKCDC’s mission and values. Submissions varied in proposed use and included one-time, weekly, and monthly proposals. NKCDC also received a number of “anchor” proposals that would use the space 2-4 days a week and take on some site responsibilities. 

Through a community-engagement process, NKCDC determined that both spaces would be activated with a combination of occasional uses and an anchor tenant. Anchor tenant proposals requested use of the space during weekend evening hours, and several one-time and occasional proposals requested use of spaces during weekday evenings and weekend daytime hours. NKCDC will work with selected partners to schedule their events and programs and will reserve time slots at the Garden Center so that residents can also rent the space for their private events. 

As part of the decision-making process, we released a survey that asked community members to rank their preferences for use of both spaces on a scale of 1 to 5. Community members ranked their 4 anchor proposals on the scale, with Mural City Cellars and Cantina la Martina coming out on top – Mural City Cellars had an average rating of 3.87 and Cantina la Martina had an average rating of 4.04. For occasional uses, community members ranked their preferences for 19 proposed activities. Two proposed uses ranked below an average of 3 and will not be considered for occasional use of the space. 

The Garden Center and 2211-17 Frankford Avenue will be open to the public during anchor tenant hours and during most occasional uses of the space. 

Cantina la Martina meeting with near neighbors at 2211-17 Frankford Avenue

Growing economic well-being 

NKCDC seeks to advance economic empowerment by providing opportunities and supporting small businesses in the Kensington, Fishtown, and Port Richmond neighborhoods. Recognizing that Mural City Cellars has grown significantly since being selected as the tenant of 2211-17 Frankford Avenue in 2022, NKCDC sees this as a growth opportunity for small businesses in our service area. 

Cantina la Martina had the highest average rating at 4.04 and was selected to use the space at 2211-17 Frankford Avenue. Their proposal highlighted collaborative events with local partners that connect different demographics of the Riverwards community.  Mural City Cellars had the second highest average rating at 3.87 and was selected for the space at the Garden Center. Recent needed renovations were completed just in time at the Garden Center thanks to a grant from Penn Treaty Special Services District.

Mural City Cellars will use the Garden Center two evenings per week to ensure the garden center is still available for a diversity of community and private uses. Both spaces will also be activated by one time or other occasional activities that will be open to the community.  

At NKCDC, we believe that community development can and should benefit all residents.

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