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What's Happening in:  Lower Moyamensing 

Plans coming for 172 units in huge former factory at 12th and Jackson

UPDATE: New renderings and updated information about this project, called the Artisan Lofts, are here.

It’s apparently a big week for huge apartment conversions. Just yesterday, we told you about a presentation for the old Mt. Sinai hospital at 4th and Reed. Now comes word that the former paint brush factory at 12th and Jackson could also be headed for redevelopment.

The Lower Moyamensing Civic Association is hearing a presentation Dec. 18 for preliminary plans to convert the factory into 172 market-rate apartments.

This could turn into...

This could turn into…

...this. Rendering from Killian properties.

…this. Rendering from Killian Properties.

Developer Tony Rufo bought the building in 2007 for $2.5 million, according to city records. This rendering, however, came from the website of Killian Properties, which doesn’t mention the connection to Rufo, so we assume they are the designer. Rufo, which completed the conversion of Hawthorne School at 12th and Fitzwater, will give the presentation, says the LoMo civic.

Killian’s website says the project will be “loft-style condominiums, with parking. Prices under 300.00 a foot.”

The meeting will be Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 6:30 p.m. in the Methodist Hospital’s Morgan Conference Room.

UPDATE: We got word from Rebecca Swanson, spokeswoman for the city Department of Licenses and Inspections, that L&I has been after Rufo for a couple years to compel him to get to work on it. After the Vacant Property Strategy (doors and windows violations) was implemented in September 2011, L&I went after him, she said.

“L&I cited the property for having hundreds of boarded or missing windows in violation of the ‘doors and windows’ ordinance (which authorizes our Blight Court to impose a fine of up to $300 per day per opening),” she said in an email. “The owner, TR-Jackson (one of the limited partnerships owned by Mr. Rufo), appealed this violation to the L&I Review Board, stating that it would be a ‘hardship’ to put in the windows. Since that time, L&I and the Law Department has worked with Mr. Rufo and his attorney to get this building – and many other properties owned by Mr. Rufo that are in violation of the doors and windows ordinance – brought into compliance.

“Part of this included an agreement that Mr. Rufo would develop the 1201 Jackson property promptly, or would be brought back into Blight Court to face those potential high-dollar fines.

“We find that in certain situations these type of agreements, with the threat of high-dollar fines for noncompliance attached, can be more effective in getting a vacant property rehabbed and occupied than just asking the court to impose a fine,” she said. “We are pleased that Mr. Rufo has made good on our agreement and are encouraged that this blighted building will soon be put back into productive use. Of course, TR-Jackson will have to pay all back taxes on the property in order to apply for a zoning permit when the time comes.”

Looks like a win for the city and the neighborhood. Now he just has to actually follow through on the plans.


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9 Responses to Plans coming for 172 units in huge former factory at 12th and Jackson

  1. Lee December 10, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Quite honestly, that building is dead as-is. I think this is a great conversion for that building and improves the density along the Broad Street Line corridor and specifically the Snyder-stop area. While not directly adjacent to the stop it is definitely within the immediate area.

    This would be a great spot for folks who work along in any of the commercial zones along the major/minor transit lines (CC, U-City, Temple, heck even the Navy Yard).

    Not too shabby.

    • Adam December 10, 2013 at 10:42 am #

      This would be a great change! I think the original plan a few years ago also was going to include some ground level restaurants/shops.

      As for parking, I think there is a lot entrance on the side of the building.

  2. Jillian December 10, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    This could make such a huge difference for our neighborhood. I believe it will raise both the property values and “coolness” value of our neighborhood. My only trepidation was the parking situation but if parking is included I feel great about this.

  3. ant December 10, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    I am glad to hear this and hope they follow through. Currently, there are stones, ice, & pieces of glass from windows that are falling onto the cars parked next to this building. I have witness several cars destroyed and the current owner doesn’t care. My hopes are that they make plenty of parking, maybe even rent spots out to neighbors because it has become a nightmare. It will also revitalize Snyder Ave and will associate it with “Passyunk Square.”

  4. Michael December 10, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    I was hyped years ago when original plans came out and this can hopefully be more good news.

    It’ll be a great extension of the great work done above Snyder moving further down south.

    • PhilliesSP December 17, 2013 at 6:16 am #

      I agree! And yes, it is imperative that this place provides parking for ALL of its residents! It is a shame that the owner of the old Superior Plumbing building on Snyder Avenue is not showing the same degree of sophistication and/or creativity as what is going on here…

  5. Franny December 13, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    thrilled that this is going to be rehabbed. my home is a few feet away from it

  6. RoofThis December 17, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    Pessimistic. It’s a lot less expensive to pay for design services and present to a civic group than to deal with L&I, courts, fines/penalties and lawyers. Going through the motions.

  7. John December 18, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Ant, the current owner who doesn’t care IS Tony Rufo. Google his name and watch what comes up. As a resident of the area, I’m very excited about this development. As we’ve discussed, it will improve the area, raise our home values and hopefully spark more positive development.

    If what they are proposing does happen, then this is great news, but I hope we all ask very direct and thoughtful questions at tonight’s meeting. For a guy who’s close to $200,000 behind in property taxes on this property, he needs to be held accountable.

    Hopefully tonight’s meeting will be very productive.

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