No BID for the Italian Market

A Business Improvement District has been in the works for the Italian Market for years now, but as of a vote this week, the proposal is officially dead in the water.

Italian Market

Over one third of the businesses along the 9th Street commercial corridor voted against the formation of this BID, which would have brought streetscape improvements and more funding to the longest standing outdoor market in the country.

From PlanPhilly:

Councilman Mark Squilla’s office reports that the official poll of property owners in the BID area, the only people with a right to vote on the proposal, produced enough opposition votes to kill the BID. Over one-third of affected property owners needed to vote against the plan to defeat it and 33.86 percent voted in opposition to the bill. As a result, legislation to officially establish the BID will not be brought up before City Council.

Why did business owners vote against the BID? For one thing, the property owners and businesses would be required to pay 0.2% of the assessed value of their properties to fund the BID annually. That ranges from about $200 for a curb stand to $800 for a property assessed at $400,000. Many of these business owners thought the fee was unnecessary and that the market is good enough as-is, even without all of the improvements the BID could bring.

23 thoughts on “No BID for the Italian Market

  • October 27, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Ahh south Philly, never change. do everything you can to prevent it at all costs.

  • October 27, 2016 at 9:26 am

    This is a bummer – shortsighted business owners ruining it for the rest.

  • October 27, 2016 at 9:35 am

    This result was engineered by State Reps who had the threshold for rejection lowered to 33% from the normal statewide 51%. Instead of cleaning up their act , I actually believe this will be the death knell for a number of these businesses. When the development sites on Broad and Washington and that at the former Mt. Sinai hospital are finally complete real estate pressure is going to fully surround the Market from all sides. If the development at the Anastasia fish market project happens this will happen even quicker. Grousing about spending $100 a year to have your street cleaned and maintained will be nothing when the real state hawks start circling as believe it or not they don’t care if you have been selling junk in the same spot for 40 years , their hearts are cold stones. With the BID i believe a level of protection could have been established for small business owners as they would have a collective voice to decide the future of the market and its nearby areas . With this extremely shortsighted decision they are all on their own. When the real estate money starts appear it will be most certainly every man for himself.

    • October 27, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      you nailed it.

    • October 28, 2016 at 11:11 am

      I agree, but it may not be a bad thing. I feel that the successful butchers and cheese shops will still be there. The shoddy fruit stands and rubbish stores will go, and that may lead to a new era for a cleaner and more upscale market.

  • October 27, 2016 at 10:00 am

    I’m sorry the Italian market is a dump. There is about 10 stores worth shopping at. The small vendors selling produce are selling rotten fruit and veggies.

  • October 27, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Can’t see the forest through the trees. What a shame.

    And beaten by only 0.86%! If a butterfly flapped its wings we may have had a different result. And really, how could legislators think 33% is enough to vote down?! What ever happened to majority rule?

    • October 27, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      Actually lost by even less than that. 1/3 = 33.33. So it lost by .53%. Hopefully they can bring it up again for a vote soon.

  • October 27, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Good job Italian Market! Keep being smelly and dirty. That’s the spirit.

  • October 27, 2016 at 10:55 am

    lol… hopefully this will just accelerate the change over. More decent retail stores and restaurants. There is no “fresh” produce. Vendors buying out of date produce direct from the Food Distribution Center and driving it up to 9th St., it’s a joke.
    Too cheap to pay a couple hundred bucks a year for basic cleanliness, same people who clamor for more parking on Washington Ave.
    It takes a special kind of stupid to stand at 9th & Washington and be absolutely oblivious to what happened on E. Passyunk with its BID.

  • October 27, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Such a sad, short-sighted result. The Italian Market has deteriorated every year over the past decade and this now means that there will be no organized effort to turn things around. Do they not see the amazing transformation of East Passyunk? Do they not see the enormous potential in the re-development of the Market as both a historic and a forward-looking street market. Sadly now, the place will continue to lose its original character and simply slip inevitably into irrelevance….

  • October 27, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Such a shame! So many of the business owners and neighbors wanted this to pass but they don’t get to vote. A few short sighted property owners couldn’t see past the nominal fee and stopped this for everyone. Really a disappointment.

  • October 27, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Paying a salary to a full time employee is where this went wrong. Most of the extra money collected will go to this employee. That doesn’t create value and doesn’t allow all the money to be used for the street. Seems to me to all be a political play again. Who would be the Exec Director? Has to be a political chrony. Glad the BID lost.

  • October 27, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    A lot of those businesses probably don’t have a lot of money to spare for a community group that will ostensibly provide an unproven set of services.

    On the other hand, the Italian market is a shadow of what it could be. They could close 9th street to traffic and have all those farmers markets and flea markets set up their tents right there. Weren’t we supposed to set that anyway with the opening of street licenses in 2015?

    Gotta move forward with time or else find yourself lost to the past.

  • October 27, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    I live in the BID area, and was so excited about it happening. Now, I couldn’t be more disappointed. I have a strong sense that this WILL come up again, and again until it passes. So incredibly short sighted, and I’m sorry to say, not too intelligent.

  • October 27, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    Not surpised at all. Corruption and stubborn owners, total Philly. Who the hell came up with 33% ?? Lol low bar set for failure. The market is a dump during the day an scary at night. On the brightside, keep E Passyunk real estate climbing!!! Morons.

  • October 27, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    I think the BID would have been great, but I love the Italian market the way it is both north and south of Washington. It could be more but it already is so much.
    Some of the storefronts could use some more activity – RIM cafe may be more pleasant when not walking by poultry stench, but it is much more interesting than most commercial corridors out there.
    I really enjoy that I can walk up there at 9p and have family stores selling random items, cheap wonderful restaurants and such. I don’t agree with their worry, but completely understand the concern that they are trying to lay the groundwork for a starbucks to destroy the place.

  • October 27, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    Good points on both ends. Those who haven’t “lived” 9th Street really shouldn’t comment. Everywhere you go in this city, there’s stench and filth, paying more $ won’t take that away, it’ll only take away from the old school charm the street grew to be. Yet with all these “new” outsiders wanting more for their $, it seems most small business owners are forced to sell out or get out. Sadly this city is at fault for not protecting one of their assets. Lots of history without a price tag to visit & that’s probably why.

    • October 28, 2016 at 9:45 am

      eff’m. The Mexican business owners should form their own BID for 9th St. SOUTH of Washington only. They’re the ones who actually work.

  • October 31, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Could we just get rid of the “live poultry” market? It’s disgusting. If you want live chickens, go to the farm where they belong.

  • October 31, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    BID’s like this one are sprouting up over phila for one reason and one reason only… power, or the lack there of. These BID’s are essentially defunct “civic associations” that under the new Zoning Code (where most developments are now done BY RIGHT) no longer have any power. Its a desperate and sad attempt for these people to grab power from a system that stripped them of it. There is a reason the new code abolished civic association power, because it did nothing but stand in the way of development, now those same developers were the first to vote this down. A MANDATORY tax will never pass here and only 34% said no because the group running the opposition vote got only enough as needed, truth the actual opposition was OVER half, the majority of property owners objected.

    Furthermore, only the COMMERCIAL properties were required to pay the tax with zero coming from residential properties which makes zero sense since the residential properties will benefit just as much as if not more than the commercial ones, it makes even less sense when you consider that the residential properties out number the commercial ones 25 to 1 in the proposed district yet only the commercil ones would have carried 100% of the burden/tax. This bill will never pass.

    • November 2, 2016 at 11:38 am

      The average annual property taxes for residents of the streets surrounding the Italian Market have increased much more than $800/year (unless you have abatements) while the businesses have had theirs drop in some cases. We’re already shouldering heavier burden with same level of city services (problems that the city hasn’t enforced to the best extent include bad air quality from Nigro’s Auto Body shop and that insane poultry place, illegal parking that the PPA says is the police dept’s issue, predatory towing practices by Lew Blum and some of the other tow companies, heavy rat and roach presence near some businesses and the abandoned Carl’s lot at S 9th & League near Washington Ave). Some of the business owners do a fantastic job, and the trash and recycling haulers are better than ever, but there’s SO MUCH that can improve and the residents shouldn’t be shouldering same burden as the merchants to bring in more tourists/shoppers.

  • November 1, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    @ NIMBY, couldnt have said it better myself. They also need to get rid of the one paid employee which gets 60k/year out of the 300k/year annual budget, there must be dozens of qualified people willing to do it as un-paid volunteer. Also I completely agree that the residential homes will benefit from the tax (clean sidewalks, lighting, cameras etc) yet they pay nothing? As well as an increase in their own property value, they need to contribute something, maybe 50% of what a commercial building would.

    This tax will also prevent much needed projects from being built, if someone wants to build a mix use building, for every 5 million in tax assessment they pay a staggering 10k/year!!! There needs to be a cap on the tax per each property, maybe only the first million in tax assessment should taxable. For example the tax on the proposed 5 story project at 9th and washington (where Anastasias seafood is now) would be something like 40k/year! Thats an outrageous added expense that could be the difference between a much needed project like that being built… and even if the builder is ok with the added tax it will skew the financials on the project making it harder for them to get the loan to build.

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