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.
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.