South Philly residents may soon have to say goodbye to the historic, 150-year-old Frankford Chocolate Factory, which was recently acquired by Philly developer Ori Feibush, to be converted into homes, retail and open space.
Feibush, president and founder of OCF Realty, bought the building at 2101 Washington Avenue last week, finalizing a $15.5 million sale.
He said he hopes to demolish much of the building to make way for 44 townhouses, 20,000 square feet of retail and 20,000 square feet of public space. The townhouses will likely be three-bed, two-and-a-half-bath homes, totaling about 2,500 square feet each, Feibush said. Each home would come with a parking space.
But the site is still zoned industrial, and Feibush said the developers have a while to go before they can secure zoning approval for residential and commercial use.
In the meantime he’s meeting with residents and neighbors in the area and seeking input about their plans to demolish and develop much of the building, which has been at the corner of 22nd and Washington since it was first built in 1865.
“The entire building is in deplorable condition,” Feibush said, adding that it would be difficult to salvage the whole structure, but that they’re trying to save as much as they can. That includes the smokestack and a 10,000 square-foot-section of the building on the corner of 22nd and Washington.
He said the development may be a step toward revitalizing the area and that it will bring some much-needed amenities to the neighborhood. Those include underground parking, public space and a supermarket.
“I have long believed this single parcel is the most important to be developed,” Feibush said.
But Feibush said he knows the importance that comes with developing the building—especially one that was recently placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“We’re aware of the burden on us now. We’re aware of the importance,” he said.