The fate of the historically designated Frankford Chocolate Factory on Washington Avenue has been touch and go for over a year but it seems a decision has finally been reached.
The remainder of the 150-year-old factory at 2101 Washington Avenue will be torn down to make way for a mixed-use project, headed up by developers OCF Realty. Developer Ori Feibush of OCF, told Curbed Philly the decision was made two weeks ago. It was first reported on by Inquirer.com this week.
According to Feibush, the factory, “sits terribly on the site” and is in, “too deplorable of a condition to be saved.”
“I’ve never been profoundly enamored by (the factory),” Feibush said Thursday, adding that he believes the new project will be more well received than what currently sits on the site.
Feibush purchased the factory in April last year with plans to turn it into townhouses, retail, and public space. He quickly had part of the site demolished, citing “deplorable” and unsafe conditions, but promised that OCF would try to save as much of the site as possible. The factory is on the National Register of Historic Places, but not the Philadelphia register, meaning that it can be demolished.
Then late last summer, Feibush announced the smokestack, which he said was in poor condition, would be coming down as well. He aimed at the time to keep the brick facade of the original building along 22nd Street and Washington Avenue. But Feibush told Inquirer.com this week that OCF decided to tear down the facade too, after realizing it interfered with plans for retail space and underground parking.
Feibush said he’s been through a months-long negotiation process with the Office of Licenses and Inspections (L+I), discussing the idea of preserving parts of the factory including the facade, boiler room and smoke stack, but ultimately decided against it.
“We made exhausted efforts to see what we could save,” Feibush said.
It’s not clear when the demolition will happen, but Feibush said he’s not in a hurry to raze the remainder of the building.
For now, OCF is just working to go through the normal zoning process for the project, and they’re planning to take community input about the development over the coming months.