Will construction ever begin on the Brush Factory? LoMo Civic hosts meeting to voice concerns

It has been over two years now since the Zoning Board of Adjustment approved plans for a development to reuse parts of the former Brush Factory at 12th and Jackson to create 151 apartments. The property has been left dormant, allowing for break-ins and dumping to occur on a regular basis at the site.

2014 rendering.

On Monday, October 24, the Lower Moyamensing Civic Association hosted a meeting to express concerns over the status of this property, as a way to “let [developer Tony Rufo] know that we’re noticing,” said Todd Schwartz, president of the organization.  When plans first emerged, the community group was optimistic about the project, but after two years and no progress, LoMo Civic and nearby residents want to see something moving forward at the property.

As a refresher, the plans now include 151 apartment units and 65 parking spaces, 21 bike parking spots and 19 street trees planned to improve the streetscape of the areas along Iseminger, Jackson and 12th Streets. The project will utilize two of the existing buildings and construct a three-story building in the center of the property.

At the meeting, the community group’s board disclosed a conversation with the developer that happened earlier that day, where Rufo stated that demolition permits are currently being obtained. Last week Rufo acquired a permit for interior demolition and he is also working to obtain the exterior demolition permit, which requires approval from the fire department. November 4 will mark the last day of the fire department’s 30 day review. While there are permits being pulled showing potential progress on the location, at the same time, the property is being marketed for sale for over $8 million.

The main concern of the civic association and residents is the lack of care and upkeep Rufo has shown for the property, as numerous 311 reports have shown. With Rufo’s history of back taxes and L&I violations, the community group wants to make sure the Brush Factory does not continue to be a neighborhood issue.

LoMo Civic is hoping residents will continue to report any dumping or other violations they may see at the location to make sure Rufo is aware of the problems this abandoned property is causing for the area. If you see illegal dumping, break-ins or other violations, you can contact 311 and the civic association at lomophilly@gmail.com

3 thoughts on “Will construction ever begin on the Brush Factory? LoMo Civic hosts meeting to voice concerns

  • October 26, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Rufo’s hoping that any other developer with ambition will snatch it up from him (albeit at a fraction of the $8M he wants for it), because he’s not financially prepared to see it through. I guarantee that every one of those units will selll/lease before construction even begins if someone who knows what they’re doing takes over. Anyone? Blumenfeld? Blatstein? Feibush? Hell, Dranoff? Scout Ltd.? It’s basically free money, guys and gals.

    • October 28, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      Blatstein doesn’t know what he’s doing.

  • October 31, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Certainly not with his attempted “game-changing” megaprojects; but there’s no doubt that money like his could whip this abandoned factory into high-end condos in a matter of months. At this point, I’m convinced that LoMo volunteers could get it developed more efficiently than Rufo.

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