The Philadelphia Record Exchange will reopen in a new location this Saturday after the Zoning Board of Adjustment approved a use variance for the building, at 1524 Frankford Avenue in Fishtown. The record store, which has weathered nearly three decades of music-business turmoil, was previously housed on 5th Street, just south of South.
A zoning hearing earlier this month, which the applicants said was delayed by several hours while another hearing dragged on, was abruptly continued because the owners did not provide floor plans. Erin Murray and Christopher Grant bought the building in 2007, renovated it, and for nearly two years housed Extra Extra art gallery in the ground floor. The space has been vacant for about a year, Murray and Grant said.
Fishtown Neighbors Association provided a letter of support for the project, which says that the group’s vote was 43-0 in favor of the project, and that attendees broke into a standing ovation after the vote was tallied.
The property is zoned RM-1, a multi-family residential district, and the owners received a variance for the sale of retail goods. They argue that their property is on a commercial corridor, and they shouldn’t have to get zoning relief at all.
The stretch of Frankford Ave. north of Girard, which has seen a rash of new developments recently, is largely zoned for multifamily residential and commercial uses, with some industrial mixed use properties. Matt Karp said that FNA’s zoning committee, which he chairs, is “looking at the zoning of Frankford Ave and what corrections can be made.”
New Kensington Community Development Corporation has been marketing the stretch of Frankford Ave. as an arts/commercial corridor, but the area has yet to be remapped through the Philadelphia2035 process.
“Most of the corridor is already zoned CMX-2 which matches much of the growing businesses on the corridor,” Karp added.
Jared Brey is a freelance reporter based in Philadelphia. His work has been featured in Philadelphia magazine, Hidden City, The Philadelphia Inquirer, City & State, and other publications. He covered development, zoning policy, historic preservation, and city government for PlanPhilly from 2011-2016.