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Local developer buys five Callowhill properties for $36M

Arts & Crafts Holdings keeps on buying up the neighborhood

Arts+Crafts Holdings just bought five properties in Callowhill for $36 million, including this building at 437-461 N. 3rd Street.
Courtesy of Colliers International Philadelphia

Remember when an entire pocket of a neighborhood that called itself “Callow East” hit the market about a year ago? A local developer has just purchased a bunch of the properties to the tune of $36 million.

It should not come as a surprise that Arts+Crafts Holdings is the new owner of five properties in the east Callowhill neighborhood. Colliers International Philadelphia, which handled the listing, announced Monday that the developer bought more than 195,000 square feet of commercial real estate properties and parcels.

“We’re essentially looking to try to sort of dominate this creative class office market,” Craig Grossman of Arts+Crafts Holdings told Curbed Philly. “When you look at the map and the topography, these are all fairly closely knitted together and it was an opportunity to bring some connectivity to this area.”

Arts+Crafts Holdings is no stranger to the neighborhood. For the past few years it has been buying up properties throughout Callowhill and bringing them back to use as creative office space, apartments, and more. The developer now owns 20 properties or 1.2 million square feet of properties in the greater Callowhill neighborhood.

The five properties, which include a mix of industrial and office buildings, stretch from 2nd Street to the east, 9th Street to the west, Callowhill Street to the south, and Spring Garden Street to the north.

Top left: 600 Spring Garden Street was built in 1888 as the Northern Savings Fund, Safe Deposit & Trust Company and was later run as a night club by restaurateur Stephen Starr. Top right: 827 Spring Garden Street is currently leased by Sherwin Williams. Bottom left: 854-56 North 3rd Street and 302-308 Poplar Street. Bottom right: 309-15 Callowhill Street.

This particular area of Callowhill remains one of the last remaining developable areas between Old City and Northern Liberties. In 2015, the East Callowhill zoning was changed to CMX3, allowing for residential, office, and commercial development and included a height bonus. One of the properties, at 4th and Callowhill, already has design documents in hand for a mixed-use development with multiple high-rises. Designed by Cecil Baker + Partners, the project cleared the Civic Design Review process in 2016.

But Grossman says they’re still in the early stages and aren’t planning on building or bringing residential to the area any time soon. “We’re taking a more sensitive development strategy here,” he says, “and we’re not looking to knock things down and take advantage of whatever zoning or development opportunities there might be.”

The three remaining properties that are still for sale include 430 N. 4th Street, 412-426 N. 2nd Street, and 200 Spring Garden Street.