Something Might Be Happening With the Frankford Chocolate Factory

The Frankford Chocolate Factory on Washington Avenue between 21st and 22nd Streets | Image via Google Earth

The Frankford Chocolate Factory on Washington Avenue in South Philadelphia | Image via Google Earth

Oh, snap. The Frankford Chocolate Factory on Washington Avenue – between 21st and 22nd Streets if you’re unfamiliar with the site (map) – has been purchased. According to Jacob Adelman at the Inquirer, a mixed-use project is rumored to be in the works.

Although there’s no official word yet on whether or not the the 240,682-square-foot building, which is well over a century old and not historically designated, will be demolished or reused, it goes without saying that a residential/commercial development at the site would do more than a little to boost the evolving industrial corridor it sits on. Writes Adelman:

The Frankford Chocolate property’s redevelopment would provide a conduit for revitalization from the increasingly affluent Graduate Hospital area into the Point Breeze neighborhood to its south, said [CBRE executive Robert] Fahey, whose company represented a court-appointed receiver charged with selling the site.

“It’s going to have a pretty big impact on the neighborhood,” he said. “It’s just been a major blight, this dilapidated, boarded-up hulk of a building surrounded by gentrification.”

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Blatstein: The Playground in Atlantic City to be 100% Leased in 2016

A rendering of T Street via Tower Investments

A rendering of T Street via Tower Investments

It takes time to get most anything done these days. That’s especially true when you’re trying to revive a $200 million failed whale of a luxury shopping mall into an entertainment destination full of lively bars, high-end shopping, tons of food options and sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Such is the case with developer Bart Blatstein at the former Pier Shops at Caesars on the boards of Atlantic City. The developer, along with Steelman Partners, is in the midst of a massive transformation project to take it from seldom-visited mall with plenty of empty storefronts to what’s now dubbed The Playground, a development that Blatstein said would help remake Atlantic City into the entertainment capital of the East Coast.

Blatstein bought the mall about a year ago, and announced his plans for The Playground in April. The first phase of the project, a multi-venue music walk and bar scene akin to Beale Street in Memphis called T Street on the building’s first floor, was ready to go for the summer season in June. The build out took about ten weeks, and Blatstein brought in Garces Events to cater the food and beverage menu and staff each venue.

In a traditional scenario, Blatstein told Property, it would take anywhere from 8 to 12 months to put together a lease for retail tenants and build out the space, and it could take up to two years to do the same for a restaurant. Blatstein labeled the turnaround for T Street “a miracle.”

“Instead of it taking two years to do, we did it in the matter of two months,” said the developer, who called the previous operations at the Pier “rudderless” when it was the mall. “When we took it over, it was 60 percent vacant. We will have 100 percent occupancy in 2016 … the turnaround is the story.”

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Renderings: Frankford Avenue to Get Two New Apartment Buildings Spring 2016

Rendering: Frankford Stacks | Image courtesy of JDT International

Rendering: Frankford Stacks | Image courtesy of JDT International

Feels like ages that we haven’t checked up on Fishtown, so it was about time our attention was arrested: developer JDT International has several projects unfolding in coming months, two of which are on the 2000 block of Frankford Avenue and opening this coming spring.

Oh, what’s that? You want exact locations and deets? Alright, alright… Meet, The Frankfordian and Frankford Stacks at 2006-10 and 2012-28 Frankford Avenue, respectively (map). (Yep, they’re next door neighbors.) Here’s what each is set to offer:

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Art Commission Gives Thumbs Up to LOVE Park Redesign

Aerial view of the new LOVE Park | Renderings: Hargreaves and Associates, KieranTimberlake and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation

Aerial view of the new LOVE Park | Renderings: Hargreaves and Associates, KieranTimberlake and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation

LOVE Park‘s ambitious redesign plan was approved by the Art Commission this week. While accolades for the park’s overall design and its metallic, color-changing Percent for Art installation were plentiful, the Commission wanted one tiny thing added to the final design: two public drinking fountains.

PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey reports that the Commission added “a requirement for the fountains,” which is important because unlike the non-binding design recommendations of Civic Design Review, the public fountains are now legally required to be installed in the park. The Art Commission has some juice, baby.

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Waterfront Wishes: Bridesburg Neighbors Voice Desires For New Riverfront Park

Long-earmarked in city-wide and waterfront master plan studies as potentially viable for parkland or anything other than its industrial past, the 9.4-acre riverfront parcel at 3101 Orthodox Street in Bridesburg is now gradually materializing.

Image via

The site of the proposed riverfront park in Bridesburg | Image via

Sitting adjacent to the former coal-operating Philadelphia Coke Company facility, the property is now at the center of discussion at community engagement meetings headed by the Delaware River City Corporation (DRCC) and the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

In case you missed it, Parks & Rec. acquired the site, which had once been part of a Dietz & Watson foundry, last year. As PlanPhilly reported then, the land went to the department upon the city reaching a land swap deal with the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), which owned the parcel at the time.

Now, equipped with William Penn Foundation grant funding for the community engagement process, DRCC and Parks & Rec. are in the midst of the “concept development” stage of the proposed venture. Neighbors, of course, are a crucial element to the unfolding plan: “We had a series of community meetings working with a consultant to develop what [residents] perceive the space should be used for and function as. This is all about getting the baseline concept in place to support the community,” Stephanie Craighead, Director of Planning, Preservation and Property Management at Parks and Recreation, told Property.

And what do Bridesburg residents want? Well, over the course of the neighborhoods meetings that have taken place, Craighead says a special interest has been expressed in Read more »

The Latham Hotel to Close, Apartments Planned (Updated)

The Latham


Update (Nov. 4, 11:30 a.m.)

James Pearlstein, owner of Pearl Properties, confirmed in an email to Property that the real estate giant has purchased The Latham Hotel and plans to convert it into 144 rental apartments. “We don’t have plans for the retail space at this time,” wrote Pearlstein.

It should come as no real surprise that Pearl Properties is involved in this deal. This year alone, we’ve told you about their massive project involving 1900 Chestnut and the tower at the Boyd Theatre site, the demolition of the parking garage at Broad and Locust, the Under Armour and apartments coming to 16th and Walnut, and the purchase of the Art Deco building housing the Art Institute of Philadelphia at 1618 Chestnut Street, where Pearl is planning to put an Old Navy flagship store.


There’s a big shakeup coming to the corner of 17th and Walnut, as The Latham Hotel will officially close its doors by Monday, November 9th.

PhillyChitChat’s HughE Dillon first reported the news on October 30th, and a call to the Latham’s front desk confirmed that the closure. “It’s going to become condos … everyone is getting laid off,” said an employee at the Latham. A message left for general manager Ross Black has not yet been returned.

A quick peek at the reservation schedule on The Latham’s website shows that nothing is available beyond Monday’s date:

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Verdant Temple Pilot Project Nears Completion, Master Plan Revealed

Rendering: Perspective view of the proposed central New Green at Temple University's main campus | Credit: LRSLAstudio

Perspective view of “The New Green,” the planned central quad at Temple University | Credit: LRSLAstudio

Yes, Temple University has a massive redesign plan in store for its main campus. But in case you missed our sneak peek from earlier in the summer, we’ll have you know the Visualize Temple Master Plan (.PDF) comes with a decidedly green and equally significant companion piece: the Verdant Temple Landscape Master Plan (.PDF).

“The landscape of a campus is critical in creating first impressions and lasting memories,” TU President Neil D. Theobald said in a press release unveiling the long-anticipated program. Per the release, Verdant Temple will focus on five interrelated components:

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Renderings: Brewerytown Blight to Open as New “Eastern Lofts” Next Year

Eastern Building via Google Streetview | Right: Rendering of Eastern Lofts

Eastern Building via Google Streetview | Right: Rendering of Eastern Lofts

It’s been a long time coming, but here it is: Eastern Lofts is set to open in early 2016.

Repurposed from the bones of the former American Railway Express Garage – otherwise known as the Eastern Building – at 3002-28 Cecil B. More Avenue (map), Eastern Lofts will breath new life to the site in the form of thirty-seven modern loft-style apartments with commercial space that includes a day care, coffee shop, and two open loft office spaces that are available for lease.

Tenants can expect to be welcomed in January, according to a project spokesperson, who added that a shared conference room will be onsite for commercial tenants.

Conceived by Gregory Reaves and partners in 2013, work officially commenced on the long-anticipated development in May 2015. Reaves, the Principal Managing Member at Mosaic Development Partners, is the owner of the site.

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DRWC Unveils Early Redevelopment Plans for Festival Pier Site

Festival Pier | via DRWC

Festival Pier | via DRWC

Welp, it’s official. The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation has chosen the partnership of Jefferson Apartment Group and Haverford Properties to transform the 11.5-acre Festival Pier site into a massive mixed-use complex chock-full of apartments, retail and public space, including clear sight lines and access to the mighty Delaware River.

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Report: Board Could Choose Festival Pier Developer on Friday (Updated)

Master Plan for the Central Delaware. Photo via the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation.

Concept Taken from Master Plan for the Central Delaware | Photo via the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation.

Spring Garden Street leading up to the Delaware River has become a hotbed of development activity this year, and there’s probably no bigger project on deck than the reimagining of the Festival Pier site on Columbus Boulevard.

According to Jacob Adelman of The Inquirer, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) will vote on the winner of the three-horse race to redevelop the 11.5-acre site at a board meeting on Friday.

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