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Acme Situation

An Agreement has been reached with the developer

5th Street Development News

Society Hill Civic Association has signed an agreement with the Alterra Property Group which was finalized this week.

Two neighbor groups that have appealed Alterra’s prior permits are also party to the agreement. The agreement pertains to the commercial properties owned by Alterra on either side of 5th Street just south of Spruce including the ACME supermarket and the three store commercial building across from the ACME.

Negotiations for this agreement have been ongoing for a number of months. SHCA has regularly informed and sought feedback from the Society Hill neighborhood on the key points of the agreement through several neighborhood meetings and periodic emails. The signed agreement reflects the key points that have been previously communicated through these meetings and emails and contains nothing new.

As part of the settlement with SHCA, Alterra has signed an agreement to extend the ACME supermarket lease by 10 years with options for another 19.5 years. The lease agreement gives ACME the right to build a roughly 2,500-square-foot 1-story addition to the 12,000-square-foot existing supermarket.  ACME also has the option, if and when it chooses to use it, to demolish the existing building and rebuild a new one of 13,500 square feet at the same height. We have no information as to whether or if ACME will pursue either of these two options.

Also, under the terms of the agreement with SHCA, Alterra has agreed to legally abandon permits it held for a mixed use residential and commercial project on the ACME supermarket site that was strongly opposed by Society Hill residents and which would have drastically reduced the size of the existing supermarket, as well as adding significant height and mass to the building.

SHCA has also agreed not to oppose Alterra’s plans for a CVS to be located on the property across the street, which is currently home to a liquor store and other shops.

During our redevelopment period, the commercial buildings on 5th Street were carefully sized to fit into Society Hill’s historic character, with a full-service supermarket being at the heart of the neighborhood. In reaching this agreement, SHCA was guided by the Society Hill community’s desire to retain a full service supermarket at this location and its opposition to new construction that would have been out of scale with the surrounding homes.

This week’s agreement means that a full service supermarket and the current building height and mass (with the exception of the 2,500 square foot potential addition) will likely be maintained for the foreseeable future. It also means that the opposite side of the street will remain a one story building, a scale that Society Hill residents think is appropriate for the site. While we agree that the loss of the three stores will be unfortunate, it is part of the overall compromise needed to achieve this positive result.

We cannot predict what the future will hold. Much of it depends on market conditions, including in the supermarket industry, and the decisions of others, but we remain optimistic. This has been a huge endeavor for SHCA and the entire neighborhood. We appreciate your involvement to help us through this process, and your passion for and dedication to this historic neighborhood.


Maintaining a market on this site constitutes a major victory for your association