There finally seems to be a little bit of movement happening at 21st and Washington Ave. Or, at the very least, now there can be some movement.
After some legal issues, the site of the gargantuan former Frankford Chocolate Factory in Graduate Hospital has finally been put up for sale. So, what’s the site of a factory from the mid-1800’s housed on an entire block going for these days?
The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that the building could sell for anywhere between $10M and $15M. The property, which dates back to 1865, was sold in Feb. 2007 for $5.75M to the Alphonse Hotel Corporation, a company owned by developer Truong Dinh Tran. He planned to turn it into a large mixed-use complex called the “New Vietnamese Center”. According to Hidden City, Tran’s plan included “up to 15 restaurants, 50 residences, storage space, and multiple retail locations.” It was later revised in 2012 to incorporate fewer residences, restaurants, doctor office suites and interior parking. That plan was approved by the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
However, Tran unexpectedly died later that year without a will and left the former chocolate factory, which was at one time the largest chocolate bunny making operation in the world, in a state of uncertainty. Now that a court is “liquidating his estate”, it could mean something could actually happen at the site that has sat unused (aside from the erection of cell phone towers) since 2006.
Here’s some fun reading for you. To get a thorough look at the history of the property, check out this article from Hidden City. Want to learn more about the almost unbelievable, movie-like life of Truong Dihn Tran? You should definitely check out this piece from The New York Times.