February 03, 2023
Coatesville's revitalization efforts have long focused on jumpstarting the city's business district.
The National Bank of Coatesville Building, which sits just east of a major entry point to the district, at 112 E. Lincoln Highway, is getting a new tenant.
30 Prime Seafood & Chophouse, an upscale restaurant from Chef Phil Ferro, will take over the 5,400-square-foot building after renovations are completed in 2024.
"I always wanted the bank building on that corner, because I believe the revitalization (of Coatesville) is going to start there," said Ferro, who also owns Coatesville's Kings Tavern and Chadds Ford Tavern in Delaware County.
The 30 Prime concept will be similar to Del Frisco's Grille and Capitol Grill, Ferro said. The bank's basement also will be renovated to serve as a separate banquet hall.
"The basement is going to be open every day for lunch as a business express buffet with chicken, fish, pasta, salad and soup," Ferro said. "So it will be for communal luncheons, baby showers, bridal showers. The first floor will be all a la carte dining."
Before 30 Prime is completed, Ferro will open his Steel City Brewing pub at Coatesville's original YMCA building, just three doors down from the bank building. That project, expected to debut this summer or early fall, will supply beer to all of Ferro's restaurants.
Ferro is an Upper Darby native and veteran of the region's restaurant industry. He dropped out of high school when he was 16 to pursue his career as a chef. He previously ran two restaurants in Havertown, the Edgewood Cafe BYOB and Vida Mexican taqueria, and later the Red Iron American Pub in Springfield. Ferro sold those businesses to acquire real estate to open Chadds Ford Tavern, Kings Tavern and the projects he now has in the pipeline for Coatesville.
He said he's excited about playing a role in the turnaround of Chester County's only city, once an industrial powerhouse that experienced decades of disinvestment. Ferro is a bit surprised he's a key player.
"The high school dropout from Upper Darby is the one jumpstarting the revitalization," Ferro said.
Renovating old buildings into restaurants has turned into a passion for Ferro, who recently created a YouTube channel, Million Dollar Chef, to give viewers a glimpse into adaptive reuse of old properties.
"The premise behind the Million Dollar Chef is you can watch me take these old, abandoned buildings and renovate them from the ground up to turn them into million-dollar properties," Ferro said.
The Coatesville bank building's 42-foot-high ceiling will make for a spacious atmosphere at 30 Prime. The building sits within the city's Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. (Another bank building with a prominent clock tower, at 235 E. Lincoln Highway, was added to the National Register in 1977).
Ferro completed the deal for the bank building with partner Crosby Wood of New Heritage Properties, who also owns the Midway Arches wedding venue in Coatesville. They purchased the building from DEPG Properties, with the deal brokered by Michael DePetris of Legend Properties.
Wood is one of the developers behind the planned velodrome project on the city's 24.16-acre Flats property, next to the High Bridge. Ferro said that $79 million project, called the National Sports & Events Center, may have another Steel City Brewing business on site.
Coatesville has received an influx of nearly $200 million in public and private funding to spur economic development in the city in recent years, most notably the $65 million train station that PennDOT is constructing to improve regional accessibility.