Developer Ori Feibush plans to ask the city's Historical Commission to sign off on a proposal for the former Frankford Chocolate Factory site in South Philadelphia that includes demolishing the historic structure's smokestack.

The commission, which has a say on the site's redevelopment because the building has been nominated for protection as an important historic asset, is scheduled to review Feibush's proposal Tuesday, according to an agenda posted to the board's website.

Artist’s rendering of apartment building planned at the former Frankford Chocolate Factory site, as seen from corner of Washington Avenue and 22nd Street.
JKRP
Artist’s rendering of apartment building planned at the former Frankford Chocolate Factory site, as seen from corner of Washington Avenue and 22nd Street.

The 170,000-square-foot factory, sprawled over 2.3 acres on Washington Avenue between 21st and 22nd Streets, was built in phases over more than a century starting in 1865, when it began life as the Howell & Brothers Wallpaper Hangings Manufactory.

Feibush demolished much of the building in the spring after it was deemed imminently dangerous, but said he intended to keep the signature smokestack for integration into the complex of townhouses, apartments and shops he plans at the site.

Later engineering studies showed the smokestack to be in worse condition than thought, Feibush said Wednesday. "Absent incredible dollars, there's really no mechanism to save it," he said.

Feibush's plan would preserve the early-20th-century building at the corner of 22nd Street and Washington Avenue from which the smokestack rises and turn it into a ground-floor shop or restaurant.

The four-story facade of another part of the building — a section on its 22nd Street side that dates from the 1860s  — also will be incorporated into the project, Feibush said. The rest of the development will be new construction, although bricks reclaimed from the demolished factory will be used for some sections, he said.

Current plans call for 55 townhouses on the property's northern edge, with 182 apartments in two buildings along Washington Avenue that also will include a ground-floor supermarket and other shopping, along with underground parking, Feibush said.