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City block to watch: 700 Chestnut St.

High-end Japanese and pizza are said to be on the way.

For all the restaurant attention that Chestnut Street west of Broad gets, how about a look on the eastern end.

Action is underway on the 700 block, where a 32-story apartment building is being planned to replace the parking lot between Jose Garces' Rosa Blanca and Finley Catering's Union Trust.

It's already a mini restaurant row at assorted price points - Jones, Las Vegas Lounge, Aqua, El Azteca, Park Salad Bar, Morimoto, and Munchie's, along with LaScala on the opposite corner of Seventh and Chestnut.

At 703 Chestnut St., between the Old Nelson market on the corner and Aqua, restaurateur Luigi Iannuzzi is overseeing construction of Luigi's Pizza Fresca - a branch of his quickie, pizza-by-the-slice shops in Fairmount, Burlington and Marlton. Iannuzzi hopes to open in May in what was last Prime Burger.

At 718 Chestnut St., next to the GNC store, a developer has applied to the city zoning board for a variance to install what the application calls a "high-end Japanese restaurant" on the first floor, and eight apartments on the second and third floors. (Competition for Morimoto across the street!) The application by Ken Hoi Chan says the expansion of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital has created more demand for restaurants and "high-end living quarters." The zoning case is expected to be heard May 13.