Piazza Party: A Euro-Style Square Opens in NoLibs

The Piazza at Schmidt's hosts its grand opening festival this weekend.

It's been a long time coming, but developer Bart Blatstein's 80,000-square-foot piazza at the former site of the Schmidt's Brewery in Northern Liberties is scheduled to open with a bang -- or, actually a big open-air party and trunk show with over 100 artists-- this weekend.

While the reception for Liberties' Walk, the first phase of Blatstein's three-phase redevelopment plan for the parcel he owns at 2nd and Girard Streets, has been uneven, the Piazza at Schmidt's, as it is officially called, seems to have more appeal as a community hub. The piazza features a 26-foot high HDTV screen (where they'll show the Phillies game on Sunday and free movies as weather permits), plus several restaurants including  a diner, Darling's, a pub called the Swift Half from the owners of the well-received Good Dog and several other not-yet-open restaurant projects.

As for the retail mix in the 35 boutiques that surround the piazza, it leans towards the hipster set. You'll find storefronts for Print Liberation, a screen printing shop and Fabric Horse, a company that makes utilitarian bags and belts for bike riders, among others of the artsy, indie variety.

The trunk show and party starts on Saturday May 16 at 11 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m. Catch the Phillies game on the jumbo screen at 1 p.m. on Sunday, followed by a live band performance and a free movie.

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