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Industrial buildings in Fishtown tapped for contemporary art museum

A permit calls for a five-story addition

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A set of industrial buildings on Frankford Avenue will soon be turned into a contemporary art museum, according to permits filed with the city.

The permits contain plans to turn the buildings at 1115-27 Frankford Avenue into a library and cultural space, with exhibits on the first, third, and fifth floors, commercial space on the first floor, and offices on the second and fourth floors. The permits also call for a five-story addition to be built on the existing structure.

The space is expected to become home to the West Collection, which includes 3,100 contemporary pieces by 700 artists, according to PlanPhilly, who first reported the story last week. Currently, pieces from the collection are at the SEI Corporate Campus in Oaks, Pennsylvania, and at a West Collection warehouse nearby. The collection, which is owned by Alfred and his daughter Paige, West, has also loaned pieces to several well-known museums like the Philly Art Museum and the Tate Modern, according to the collection’s website.

For the buildings on Frankford Avenue, this means an entirely new life. The space dates back to the turn of the 20th Century, when it was used as a machine factory, and was home to the Otis Elevator Company until the 1940s. In 2016, the property was nominated for a historic designation, largely on the grounds that its beginnings represented the industrial roots of the Fishtown neighborhood.

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