BY JAKE BLUMGART
For years, the area north of the Vine Street Expressway, now most commonly known as Callowhill but considered Chinatown North to many, hosted many small factories and warehouses servicing the historic neighborhood’s many restaurants.
“Connecting Chinatown North to the historic core has always been the challenge for this Chinatown,” said Kathryn E. Wilson, Associate Professor of History at Georgia State University and author of the 2015 book Ethnic Renewal in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. “There was always Chinatown North [of Vine Street], but the expressway really cut off the top part of that community. A lot of what neighborhood planning has done since then is try to bridge that.”
That challenge is different than it used to be. Callowhill is undergoing a renaissance. The increasing number of old factories and warehouses being converted into condos and apartments, has led some developers to aspirationally call it “the Loft District.”