November 15, 2017
Yes, we may have been fooled once by the hoax report of a laser tag center coming to Graduate Hospital's shuttered Frankford Chocolate Factory building.
This time, it looks like legitimate plans are actually taking shape to convert the property into apartments and retail.
At a community meeting Monday night, the second held this year, developer U.S. Ventures and architect Cecil Baker presented redevelopment plans to neighbors for a discussion led by the South of South Neighbors Association, according to OCF Realty.
The building, last purchased for $7.8 million in 2015, dates back to 1865 and has sat vacant at 2101 Washington Avenue for the last 11 years.
From the 1970's until the mid-2000's, the site was the world's largest manufacturer of chocolate bunnies. The late developer Tran Dinh Truong, who purchased the factory for $5.75 million in 2007, had hoped to turn it into a Vietnamese superplex, but those and other proposals since have failed to materialize.
The initial plan presented on Monday would reportedly transform the structure into a mixed-use property with about 150 rental properties and three retail spaces fronting Washington Avenue.
Since the building is comprised of several sections constructed at different points in time, only the most historic features of the property would be prioritized for preservation.
Plans also include underground parking, a retained surface lot and a small green space.
The Washington Avenue corridor continues to attract interest from developers as progress on Lincoln Square proceeds at the southwest corner of the intersection with Broad Street. Developer Bart Blatstein's plans for the lot on the opposite corner remain in flux, but he officially purchased the property over the summer.
Another community meeting for the Frankford Chocolate Factory is expected in the coming months to incorporate the feedback provided by neighbors at Monday's discussion.