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A large abandoned factory building in Philadelphia. There are columns on the facade. There are smoke stacks on the roof. Courtesy of Flickr/Forsaken Fotos

12 incredible abandoned places in Philly

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Editor's Note: This post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated with the most recent information.

It’s important to note that these properties are all private and trespassing is strictly prohibited.

Given Philly’s long history, it’s no wonder that there are countless buildings out there that make folks stop and ask, “What is that building?” Chances are, it’s an old warehouse that once thrived during the city’s industrial boom, or maybe it’s one of Philly’s many monstrous power plants.

Regardless of their history, there’s definitely something compelling about Philly’s forgotten buildings and places, even from the outside. And it’s also heartening to know that many of them are being brought back to life and repurposed.

Since we last updated this map in 2013, a good chunk of these larger-than-life buildings have since found new owners. Here, we present a list of some of the most awe-inducing abandoned buildings, some that are still vacant and others that are in the beginning stages of redevelopment.

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1. Concrete Tower

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1201 S 35th St
Philadelphia, PA 19146

Status: Vacant TAKE OUT

It may not have an official name, but this concrete tower is one of the most recognizable structures at the corner of Grays Ferry and 35th Street. Its prominent location—right across the street from Pennovation—makes it even more intriguing. The site has had a history of heavy industrial use as a foundry, an animal feed supplement factory, and a propane distributor, according to the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), which has been working to remediate the hazardous property. For now, it remains vacant.

A large concrete tower in Philadelphia which is abandoned. Photo by Melissa Romero

2. Frankford Chocolate Factory

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Status: Being redeveloped - NOTES

This factory has loomed over Washington Avenue in Graduate Hospital since the late 1880s, when it started the business of making chocolate rabbits and other sugary treats. In 2007, plans to turn the shuttered factory into a Vietnamese-themed mixed-use development fell through, and in 2015 a group of buyers purchased the property for $7.8 million. There were talks of moving forward with a mixed-use development for the site, but there hasn’t been any noticeable movement at the factory since.

An abandoned chocolate factory in Philadelphia. The facade is red brick. Via Google Streetview

3. Old Inquirer Building

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400 N Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Status: Soon to be occupied NOTES

The former headquarters for the Philadelphia Inquirer has sat vacant for years, though not without the efforts of local developers and the city. When the 340-foot-tall building was built in 1924 and designed in the Beaux-Arts style by Rankin, Kellogg & Crane, it was the tallest building north of City Hall. After the newspaper moved out in 2011-12, developer Bart Blatstein said he planned to turn it into a hotel. But there are rumors that the city has been eyeing the building for the police’s future headquarters.

The Old Inquirer building in Philadelphia. The building is tall with a clock at the top of its tower. Courtesy of Flickr/Ian Freimuth

4. Hale Building

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1326 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Status: Vacant, but undergoing restoration

This stand-out in Center City was designed as an office building by Willis G. Hale in 1887, a few years before he would go onto design the Divine Lorraine on North Broad. At the time it was built, the Hale building received harsh criticism for being “a restless jumble” of a structure and the “monstrosity” of Chestnut Street. It has sat abandoned for years, but work is underway to restore it and turn it into office and restaurant space.

The Hale Building in Philadelphia. The building has a brown facade and is abandoned. Photo by Melissa Romero

5. Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House

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858 N Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Status: Vacant, but undergoing restoration

The Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House stands as a hulking white box on North Broad, but during its heyday the theater was once the the largest of its kind in the world. It dates back to 1908 and was built by Oscar Hammerstein I, the grandfather of Oscar Hammerstein II. Designed by architect William H. McElfatrick, it sat some 4,000 people. Over the years, it’s served a number of roles, from a theater to a circus venue to a movie theater to a church. In the coming months, it will be brought back to life as a concert venue.

The interior of the Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House. The building is abandoned. The walls are in decay. There are people standing on the ground floor. Photo by Melissa Romero

6. Willow Street Steam Generation Plant

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411 N 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19123

Status: Vacant

This deteriorating steam plant has sat abandoned at the corner of 9th and Willow streets for nearly three decades. It was built in 1927 to generate steam heat to industrial users along the Reading Rail line, but today is a beacon of blight to the Callowhill neighborhood. Late last years, news emerged that a conservator had taken over the property and has plans to remediate the industrial site, which is chockfull of asbestos.

An abandoned steam plant in Philadelphia. The exterior is mostly red brick. The facade is decayed. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

7. Beury Building

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3701 N Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19140

Status: Vacant, but undergoing restoration

This Art Deco building towers over North Broad and has been abandoned for decades, after originally serving as the National Bank of North Philadelphia since the 1920s. The 14-story building is currently undergoing a $33 million renovation that will bring seven floors of senior affordable housing and four floors of non-profit office space to the site.

The exterior of the Beury Building in Philadelphia. The facade is brown brick and is in various states of decay. There are many windows. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

8. Drueding Brothers Building

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1401 N 5th St
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Status: Vacant, but undergoing renovations

When we last wrote about this 8-story warehouse, it was vacant and eroding more each day. But the former chamois leather manufacturing factory is currently undergoing renovations and is set to bring 172 apartments to the building. It was built and designed in the early 1900s by William Steele & Sons.

A large building in Philadelphia which is abandoned. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

9. Quaker Storage Building

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901 Poplar St
Philadelphia, PA 19123

Status: Vacant

Not too much is known about this industrial warehouse, except that it was originally built as a warehouse for Strawbridge & Clothier in 1918. Later, it became a facility for Quaker Storage Company. Today, it is owned by Philadelphia Suburban Development Corporation, who in recent years has worked to replace some of the building’s many windows. It’s currently listed for lease.

A large abandoned building in Philadelphia. There is an elevated train track in front of the building. The building has many windows and an orange facade. Courtesy of Loopnet

10. PECO Delaware Power Plant

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1325 Beach St
Philadelphia, PA 19125

Status: Closed

The PECO Delaware Station, formerly known as the Delaware River Generating Station, sits right on the river and is a landmark in Fishtown. The massive 223,000-square-foot concrete behemoth was designed by architect John T. Windrim and built by Stone and Webster. It operated as a major electrical power plant until 2004, and has sat unused ever since, although there have been talks of turning it into an events space. Last year, it was added to national and local registers of historic places.

A large abandoned power plant in Philadelphia. There are many smoke stacks and chimneys on the roof. Photo by Joseph E.B. Elliott

11. Graffiti Pier

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Cumberland Street
Philadelphia, PA

Status: Abandoned

On any given day, this places draws families, urban explorers, and graffiti artists to its 500-foot-long pier on the Delaware River. Since Conrail decommissioned and abandoned the pier in 1991, it has been tagged over, and over, and over, and it’s now one of the most colorful and worst-kept secrets in the city. Like all of the other places on this list, this is technically private property, but many cases have been made to turn it into an official public park given its popularity.

A pier on the Delaware River which is abandoned. It is covered in colorful graffiti.

12. Richmond Power Station

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4090 Delaware Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19137

Status: Closed

Like its neighbor further south (see #10) on the Delaware River, the Richmond Power Station helped power up Philly’s growing population during its industrial boom in the 1920s. Built in 1925 and designed by W.C.L. Eglin, the massive power plant closed up shop in 1984. But it has since appeared in a number of movies, including “Transformers 2.” Aaron Wunsch, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s graduate program in historic preservation and author of Palazzos of Power, told Curbed that the monumental station reminds him of “the long-lost Penn Station.”

The interior of an abandoned power station in Philadelphia. The ceiling is high and arched. There is machinery and equipment on the ground floor. PECO Archives

1. Concrete Tower

1201 S 35th St, Philadelphia, PA 19146
A large concrete tower in Philadelphia which is abandoned. Photo by Melissa Romero

Status: Vacant TAKE OUT

It may not have an official name, but this concrete tower is one of the most recognizable structures at the corner of Grays Ferry and 35th Street. Its prominent location—right across the street from Pennovation—makes it even more intriguing. The site has had a history of heavy industrial use as a foundry, an animal feed supplement factory, and a propane distributor, according to the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), which has been working to remediate the hazardous property. For now, it remains vacant.

1201 S 35th St
Philadelphia, PA 19146

2. Frankford Chocolate Factory

Philadelphia, PA
An abandoned chocolate factory in Philadelphia. The facade is red brick. Via Google Streetview

Status: Being redeveloped - NOTES

This factory has loomed over Washington Avenue in Graduate Hospital since the late 1880s, when it started the business of making chocolate rabbits and other sugary treats. In 2007, plans to turn the shuttered factory into a Vietnamese-themed mixed-use development fell through, and in 2015 a group of buyers purchased the property for $7.8 million. There were talks of moving forward with a mixed-use development for the site, but there hasn’t been any noticeable movement at the factory since.

3. Old Inquirer Building

400 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19130
The Old Inquirer building in Philadelphia. The building is tall with a clock at the top of its tower. Courtesy of Flickr/Ian Freimuth

Status: Soon to be occupied NOTES

The former headquarters for the Philadelphia Inquirer has sat vacant for years, though not without the efforts of local developers and the city. When the 340-foot-tall building was built in 1924 and designed in the Beaux-Arts style by Rankin, Kellogg & Crane, it was the tallest building north of City Hall. After the newspaper moved out in 2011-12, developer Bart Blatstein said he planned to turn it into a hotel. But there are rumors that the city has been eyeing the building for the police’s future headquarters.

400 N Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19130

4. Hale Building

1326 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
The Hale Building in Philadelphia. The building has a brown facade and is abandoned. Photo by Melissa Romero

Status: Vacant, but undergoing restoration

This stand-out in Center City was designed as an office building by Willis G. Hale in 1887, a few years before he would go onto design the Divine Lorraine on North Broad. At the time it was built, the Hale building received harsh criticism for being “a restless jumble” of a structure and the “monstrosity” of Chestnut Street. It has sat abandoned for years, but work is underway to restore it and turn it into office and restaurant space.

1326 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

5. Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House

858 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19130
The interior of the Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House. The building is abandoned. The walls are in decay. There are people standing on the ground floor. Photo by Melissa Romero

Status: Vacant, but undergoing restoration

The Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House stands as a hulking white box on North Broad, but during its heyday the theater was once the the largest of its kind in the world. It dates back to 1908 and was built by Oscar Hammerstein I, the grandfather of Oscar Hammerstein II. Designed by architect William H. McElfatrick, it sat some 4,000 people. Over the years, it’s served a number of roles, from a theater to a circus venue to a movie theater to a church. In the coming months, it will be brought back to life as a concert venue.

858 N Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19130

6. Willow Street Steam Generation Plant

411 N 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19123
An abandoned steam plant in Philadelphia. The exterior is mostly red brick. The facade is decayed. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Status: Vacant

This deteriorating steam plant has sat abandoned at the corner of 9th and Willow streets for nearly three decades. It was built in 1927 to generate steam heat to industrial users along the Reading Rail line, but today is a beacon of blight to the Callowhill neighborhood. Late last years, news emerged that a conservator had taken over the property and has plans to remediate the industrial site, which is chockfull of asbestos.

411 N 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19123

7. Beury Building

3701 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19140
The exterior of the Beury Building in Philadelphia. The facade is brown brick and is in various states of decay. There are many windows. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Status: Vacant, but undergoing restoration

This Art Deco building towers over North Broad and has been abandoned for decades, after originally serving as the National Bank of North Philadelphia since the 1920s. The 14-story building is currently undergoing a $33 million renovation that will bring seven floors of senior affordable housing and four floors of non-profit office space to the site.

3701 N Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19140

8. Drueding Brothers Building

1401 N 5th St, Philadelphia, PA 19122
A large building in Philadelphia which is abandoned. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Status: Vacant, but undergoing renovations

When we last wrote about this 8-story warehouse, it was vacant and eroding more each day. But the former chamois leather manufacturing factory is currently undergoing renovations and is set to bring 172 apartments to the building. It was built and designed in the early 1900s by William Steele & Sons.

1401 N 5th St
Philadelphia, PA 19122

9. Quaker Storage Building

901 Poplar St, Philadelphia, PA 19123
A large abandoned building in Philadelphia. There is an elevated train track in front of the building. The building has many windows and an orange facade. Courtesy of Loopnet

Status: Vacant

Not too much is known about this industrial warehouse, except that it was originally built as a warehouse for Strawbridge & Clothier in 1918. Later, it became a facility for Quaker Storage Company. Today, it is owned by Philadelphia Suburban Development Corporation, who in recent years has worked to replace some of the building’s many windows. It’s currently listed for lease.

901 Poplar St
Philadelphia, PA 19123

10. PECO Delaware Power Plant

1325 Beach St, Philadelphia, PA 19125
A large abandoned power plant in Philadelphia. There are many smoke stacks and chimneys on the roof. Photo by Joseph E.B. Elliott

Status: Closed

The PECO Delaware Station, formerly known as the Delaware River Generating Station, sits right on the river and is a landmark in Fishtown. The massive 223,000-square-foot concrete behemoth was designed by architect John T. Windrim and built by Stone and Webster. It operated as a major electrical power plant until 2004, and has sat unused ever since, although there have been talks of turning it into an events space. Last year, it was added to national and local registers of historic places.

1325 Beach St
Philadelphia, PA 19125

11. Graffiti Pier

Cumberland Street, Philadelphia, PA
A pier on the Delaware River which is abandoned. It is covered in colorful graffiti.

Status: Abandoned

On any given day, this places draws families, urban explorers, and graffiti artists to its 500-foot-long pier on the Delaware River. Since Conrail decommissioned and abandoned the pier in 1991, it has been tagged over, and over, and over, and it’s now one of the most colorful and worst-kept secrets in the city. Like all of the other places on this list, this is technically private property, but many cases have been made to turn it into an official public park given its popularity.

Cumberland Street
Philadelphia, PA

12. Richmond Power Station

4090 Delaware Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19137
The interior of an abandoned power station in Philadelphia. The ceiling is high and arched. There is machinery and equipment on the ground floor. PECO Archives

Status: Closed

Like its neighbor further south (see #10) on the Delaware River, the Richmond Power Station helped power up Philly’s growing population during its industrial boom in the 1920s. Built in 1925 and designed by W.C.L. Eglin, the massive power plant closed up shop in 1984. But it has since appeared in a number of movies, including “Transformers 2.” Aaron Wunsch, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s graduate program in historic preservation and author of Palazzos of Power, told Curbed that the monumental station reminds him of “the long-lost Penn Station.”

4090 Delaware Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19137