The vacant warehouse at North Front Street and Jasper Street has been purchased by developer Jesse Munoz from Daniel Waisbord. Philadelinquency's Christopher Sawyer has been discussing the so-called white elephant since well before the warehouse fire at former Thomas Buck factory. The white elephant is right next to the York-Dauphin station, and Sawyer—and nearby neighborhood residents—have been concerned that this would be the next to go up in flames. Especially given that as of April, the building was "in dire shape," according to Eyes on the Street.
EOTS' Ashley Hahn wrote:
It's not well-sealed, and [neighborhood resident] Tony said he routinely sees pieces of stucco and brick fall on the sidewalk. Now it appears it won't go up in flames after all. The new owner told the Metro: "It's a great thing because there's not going to be a fire."
"It's not boarded up. It's not abandoned. It's going to create jobs." ... He also sees the latent value Waisbord never realized. "He is not from the community," Munoz said. "He doesn't understand the potential of this community. Hopefully, this will be a renewal of its potential." But what is the potential, exactly? When the Metro asks what he plans to do with the building, Munoz is vague—very vague:
· "The first thing will be to clean up this mess."
· "Developing this building will generate a sense of community ownership."
· "All these things will allow the neighborhood to prosper."
· "I want to turn it into a landmark."
· A cafe – or maybe a laundromat.
· "It's definitely a site for commercial development."
· "I'm looking at doing office space, if possible, with the potential of individual apartments."
· He is mulling over a combination of ground-floor retail, live-work artist lofts and student rental units.
As for time frame, Munoz thinks it'll be about a year or year and a half. In Philly time, that means five years. Although...
He said the exact timeframe will be determined by funding. ... "One week, you buy a brick. The next, a can of paint," Munoz said. "Eventually, you'll build it. But the goal, for me, is one lump sum and done." Oh, boy. This is going to be fun.
· Kensington's 'white elephant' warehouse has a new owner, new future to follow? [Metro Philadelphia]