Development team to buy lot near planned Rail Park for studios, offices

Lot at 1006 Buttonwood St., beside industrial building built in the early 1900s for Haverford Cycle Co., with Reading Viaduct visible in background.

A development team that has been snapping up property north of Center City around what could eventually be part of the proposed Rail Park plans to buy a vacant lot in the area for what would be the group's first known from-the-ground-up construction project.

The Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development approved plans in October to assume control of the 15,920-square-foot city-owned property at 1006 Buttonwood St. and sell it for $1.15 million to an affiliate of developer Arts & Crafts Holdings.

The property sits between two buildings already owned by Arts & Crafts: the former Haverford Cycle Co. building at 448 N. 10th St. and an industrial building at 1016 Buttonwood St. that now serves as mixed-martial-arts studio.

The lot "will serve as a connection between these existing sites and will add 30,000 square feet of new construction, consisting of artist and craft studios, retail space and boutique office space," according to the authority's resolution, approved Oct. 13.

Craig Grossman, an Arts & Crafts general partner, said he had no further details to share about plans for the 1006 Buttonwood site.  Grossman previously helped lead the redevelopment of Center City's Midtown Village along South 13th Street as former Philadelphia chief for the late New York developer Tony Goldman.

Arts & Crafts' other holdings consist of a former industrial building at 1025 Hamilton St.; a onetime factory that now accommodates apartments at 1027 Ridge Ave.; and 990 Spring Garden St., an office building where Roy-Pitz Brewing Co. of Chambersburg, Pa., is working to open a ground-floor brew pub.

The development group aims to create “a vibrant urban district comprised of multiple mixed-use properties" on “both sides of Spring Garden Street over the blocks along the former Reading Viaduct from Eighth Street to 13th Street,” according to its website.

Gov. Wolf and Mayor Kenney joined a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for work to turn a quarter-mile stretch of rail connected to the Reading Viaduct into a linear park. The plan’s backers recently received a $3.5 million state grant for the project.

The Reading Viaduct itself is also part of the park proposal, but remains for now in private hands.

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