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New report reveals development potential of Philly’s vacant industrial land

Plus: The top five zip codes with the most industrial land available

A new report says Philly’s industrial land offers plenty of opportunity for development.
via Flickr/Justin Wolfe

Like most other major U.S. cities, Philadelphia’s need for more housing at all price points is growing day by day. A recent report found that the metro needs to add some 38,000 apartments by 2030 to meet its rising demand. Meanwhile, housing inventory of single-family homes in Philly is at an all-time low, causing housing prices to skyrocket and bidding wars to escalate.

Meanwhile, Philly still has plenty of room to grow. But where?

Look to the city’s large swaths of industrial land. That’s according to FixList Co., a Philly-based online company that provides real estate data for investment opportunities throughout the city. It recently came out with a report highlighting Philly’s industrial land (zoned industrial I-1, I-2, or I-3 classification) how it’s currently being used, and its potential for redevelopment.

FixList Co. found that 28 percent of land has been assigned a single-family category code by the Office of Property Assessment (OPA). A majority of the industrial land parcels can be found in the Northeast (think Port Richmond, Frankford, Kensington, etc). The area around Grays Ferry also made the top 10 the list.

These are also the same zip codes where the most sales of industrial land parcels has occurred between 2008 and 2016. Some of this land has already been used to build residential, retail, and commercial developments. But much of it still remains vacant.

This map shows zip codes with the highest parcel count of industrially zoned properties.

FixList Co. argues that with the current state of Philadelphia’s housing market, now’s the time to invest in Philly’s vacant industrial land. Of all of the industrial land in West Kensington (19133), for example, 42 percent of it remains inactive or vacant.

“Already, property assessment data suggests that more than half of the land with an industrial I-1, I-2, or I-3 base zoning classification is being used for residential purposes or is currently vacant, further suggesting a return to the manufacturing heydey of the mid-20th century is unlikely.”

Here are the top five zip codes with the most sales between 2008 and 2016, and percentage of land that remains vacant.

Top 5 zip codes with vacant industrial parcels

Zip Code # of Industrial Parcels Sold Percent Vacant
Zip Code # of Industrial Parcels Sold Percent Vacant
19133 530 42%
19134 890 40%
19125 271 30%
19122 508 25%
19124 635 19%
Courtesy of FixList Co.

FixList Co.’s full breakdown can be found here.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that the chart included the number of industrial parcels by zip code. It is the number of industrial parcels sold between 2008 and 2016, as well as the percentage of industrial land that remains vacant.