New Bok developer plans ambitious artistic mixed-use community with apartments, retail & more

Plans for the former Bok Technical School include live-work residences, art studios, ground-floor retail & “could include rooftop cinema and outdoor beer terraces.”

The sale of the school was approved Thursday night to Scout Ltd. LLC, which is run by Lindsey Scannapieco, the daughter of ultra-luxury Philadelphia developer Tom Scannapieco (so our last post about this was admittedly a bit off).

Scout envisions “a creative anchor for the burgeoning East Passyunk neighborhood featuring studios and live-work space for the maker community,” according to a news release, which noted “plans to revive the 340,000 sqft space back to life as a center for design, entrepreneurship and fabrication.”

Collage comes from
Photos by Katrina Ohstrom come from
Bok classroom, via Scout LTD. LLC
Pic of Bok classroom, via Scout LTD. LLC, is by Katrina Ohstrom

So what does all that mean in practical terms? The eight-story building, built in 1938,  could end up becoming a major anchor for the neighborhood. The project will unfold in phases but the release notes that part of the plan is providing “immediate activation” of the site through temporary artistic uses. The site notes that they are soliciting input from artists and makers with ideas to make that happen.

bok aerial

Also of note:

The project proposes subterranean parking to ensure no further pressure on the current parking-constrained streets of South Philadelphia. The first phase of the project will focus on creating the parking system and activating the ground floor with innovative tenants.


Tapping into her extensive international experience working on vacant space activation and community engagement, Scannapieco aspires to energize the site through a series of temporary, artistic uses that serves to revive the space. Local artists will be invited to help ignite small-scale activity back into the monumental building, creating engaging, playful and educational experiences.

“EPX, as the RCO for the neighborhood, is looking forward to engaging the community as the project progresses,” said Joseph F. Marino, co-chair of the board of directors of the East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association. “The initial ideas, broached with the EPX board co-chairs and zoning chair, seem to have great deal of promise for the neighborhood.”

Scannapieco recently relocated to Philadelphia from London, where she has experience repurposing underused vacant sites for temporary uses. This would be Scout’s first development project, but with a little advising from her father’s development company, she may very well be able to pull this thing off.

So, what do you think?

9 thoughts on “New Bok developer plans ambitious artistic mixed-use community with apartments, retail & more

  • September 22, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Certainly ambitious. If completed correctly this could really change the neighborhood and start to expand the Passyunk Avenue businesses to streets further afield.

    • September 22, 2014 at 11:36 am

      I sure hope so. I’ve been on 9th St. for 35 years. And it’s really changed over the years. I would love to see it change back to what it use to be like!

      • September 22, 2014 at 11:46 am

        Mike – I grew up in South Philly and the one thing that’s keeping me here is all the development. I love what the neighborhood is becoming.

  • September 22, 2014 at 10:04 am

    This will be a wonderful thing for that area and could help speed up development in that “no man’s land” between Pennsport and East Passyunk.

  • September 22, 2014 at 10:10 am

    I was a student at Bok in 1969/71 as part of a time share from Bishop Neumann. I had a architecture class there with Mr.Gerace. It is nice to see the building being repurposed. By the way, we had lunch from Reds almost every day; 1/2 ham and cheese, hold the onion.

  • September 22, 2014 at 10:18 am

    I’m an artist living around the corner, this is great news. Excited to get involved and see what happens.

  • September 22, 2014 at 11:22 am

    I completely back this idea and it could really re-energize that whole area. Hopefully it will be able to come to fruition sooner than later. The whole subterranean parking thing…genius. Fingers crossed this all actually happens.

  • September 22, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    You had me at ‘beer terraces’.

    I moved to 10th street four years ago and would love a reason to walk my dog east of my street each day. Eager to see this idea come to fruition.

  • September 23, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Ive lived on Mifflin for 8 years now, and if is done right, could be really really exciting. Looking forward to seeing what happens, as long as my precious street parking isn’t impacted. haha

Comments are closed.