The parking lot would be more frequently used if the city invested more in improving the retail environment around the Italian Market. It's hard enough to park around there as it is. I'm also very tired of inserting "affordable housing" where it's not wanted by the neighbors. The only saving grace is that it's on the other side of Washington Ave. The results are far better when you put up market value homes as in the other parking lot on Christian Street. These units will contribute greater to the local micro economy, and area growth as opposed to a cluster of old poor people (just being blunt/pragmatic).
The worst thing you can say about it is that it will not contribute as much as an alternative use, like a condo. It's still a net positive. I don't really have a problem with the PHA building housing for the elderly and disabled. That's really the only form of public housing that makes sense to me, as it can be basically impossible for those groups to secure housing otherwise, particularly if they are lifelong renters in increasingly valuable neighborhoods.
So the plans for this space seems to have drastically changed, or I am wrong about where it is going in.
Plans Afoot to Bring New Restaurants, Retail and Life to the Italian Market -- Grub Street Philadelphia
Plans to develop Italian Marketplace in the large vacant lot behind Anastasi Seafood near Ninth Street and Washington Avenue could breath new life into the Italian Market neighborhood. Philadelphia Business Journal’s Peter Van Allen reports that NY-based Midwood Investment & Development has plans to turn the sprawling corner property into a humungous retail center with 31,000 square feet of underground parking, and at least one restaurant. The lot, which up until a few years ago was home to a giant and very vacant American Coal and Ice Company Ice House, was owned by P&F Giordano’s Fruit and Produce, before it was sold to Midwood.
Wait, so now it's going to be one story retail...jeez at least go two stories with apartments, public storage, bocce courts, something!
The I.M. is one of my favorite spots in the city, but there's no denying that Ninth St. is pretty ugly, and doesn't make good use of its space. Considering how often they hawk the place to tourists, I would think....oh yeah, never mind: that's not the way things work here.