Workshops and bedrooms, too

Part­ners Pete Kelly (left) and Charlie Abdo stand in a well-lit space that will be con­ver­ted in­to stu­di­os and liv­ing spaces. MARIA POUCH­NIKOVA / TIMES PHO­TOS

— The old Globe Dye Works in Frank­ford already houses sev­er­al cre­at­ive busi­nesses. Now, own­ers want to of­fer liv­ing spaces, as well.


The part­ners who bought the Globe Dye Works al­most five years ago have a new idea for the old com­plex on Worth Street in Frank­ford.

They want to trans­form spaces in five of their dozen build­ings in­to 21 units that will com­bine stu­di­os and liv­ing quar­ters. The part­ners hope they can at­tract cre­at­ive busi­ness people to an already grow­ing com­munity of pro­fes­sion­als.

Globe Dye Works was once a com­pany that dyed yarn. The whole com­plex has in­dus­tri­al zon­ing, so Globe De­vel­op­ment Group LP needs to get zon­ing vari­ances to go through with the plan. Vari­ances also are be­ing sought for some of the cur­rent uses on the prop­erty that don’t con­form to city code. The zon­ing vari­ance ap­plic­a­tion is for a max­im­um of 21 stu­dio-liv­ing space units, but there might not be that many, part­ner Pete Kelly said last week.

Mem­bers of the Frank­ford Civic As­so­ci­ation backed the Globe part­ners’ plan dur­ing their Ju­ly 5 meet­ing. Globe’s part­ners go be­fore the Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment at 9:30 a.m. on Tues­day, Aug. 14, 1515 Arch St., 18th floor.

Globe’s one free-stand­ing and 11 in­ter­con­nec­ted struc­tures already are home to artists, flor­ists, boat makers, a chocol­ate maker, a baker, a framer and an an­tiques im­port­er, ac­cord­ing to Kelly and Charlie Abdo, who are also among the de­vel­op­ment com­pany’s eight part­ners.

Tracy O’Drain, the Frank­ford Com­munity De­vel­op­ment Cor­por­a­tion’s man­aging dir­ect­or, and Michelle Feld­man, the CDC’s com­mer­cial cor­ridor man­ager, re­com­men­ded Globe to chocol­ati­er Tegan Hagy and Cup­cake Wars-win­ning baker Lily Fisc­her. They, in turn, told oth­er pro­fes­sion­als about the com­plex, Abdo said dur­ing an in­ter­view at the prop­erty on Ju­ly 11.

Fisc­her and Hagy are the types of busi­ness people Abdo and Kelly want for Globe. Fisc­her was bak­ing her cup­cakes in her South Philly home and Hagy was rent­ing spaces in res­taur­ant kit­chens. Both were look­ing for more room for their busi­nesses.

“An in­or­din­ate amount of our ten­ants are mak­ing the trans­ition from home-based busi­nesses to their first real spaces,” Abdo said. He sees Globe’s ideal ten­ants as people in cre­at­ive in­dus­tries, and he be­lieves they will bring jobs to Frank­ford.

Be­sides, Globe’s “a fas­cin­at­ing build­ing,” said Feld­man. “You walk in and you just feel something,” she said.

You see plenty, too.

There are rem­nants of Globe’s past left be­hind by the old own­ers just about every­where — a two-story old boil­er, in­dustry-size scales and small spools of yarn. And you can see those ar­ti­facts by walk­ing in the front door on the 4500 block of Worth St.

Some of the stuff is in such per­fect shape, Abdo said, it could go to the Smith­so­ni­an. As it is, he said, many ob­jects that once were at the dye works have been giv­en to the Frank­ford His­tor­ic­al So­ci­ety.

Globe’s build­ings have many big rooms with high ceil­ings and large win­dows that let in plenty of light. Fur­niture re­tail­er Ikea took ad­vant­age of that nat­ur­al light and the large amount of avail­able open space last week, erect­ing sets for a photo shoot of a ad­vert­ising  cam­paign on the fourth floor of one of the build­ings.

In May, two movie sets were built at Globe for the film Dead Man Down. Sets for a theat­er pro­duc­tion at Long­wood Gar­dens in Chester County also were con­struc­ted at Globe re­cently, Kelly said.

Some of Globe’s part­ners have in­terests in oth­er old in­dus­tri­al build­ings in Frank­ford, Kelly said. Look­ing out a fourth-floor win­dow last week, he poin­ted to an Orch­ard Street prop­erty and one on Tack­awanna Street that are owned by some of the same people who in­ves­ted in Globe.

He said he and Abdo joined the group for the Globe pur­chase in late 2007.

“Then, the real-es­tate mar­ket fell out from un­der us,” he said. “It was a little scary for the first few years.”

The com­plex has some selling points that have been at­tract­ing ten­ants.

Oth­er than what Abdo calls Globe’s “in­dus­tri­al charm,” the com­plex has a pretty good loc­a­tion. It’s in a fairly quiet neigh­bor­hood with no  crime prob­lems, the part­ners said. Part of it fronts onto Tor­res­dale Av­en­ue. Globe’s close to I-95, and, there­fore, Cen­ter City. It’s near Frank­ford Av­en­ue and Kens­ing­ton Av­en­ue as well as many bus routes and the El. Globe has a park­ing lot at Kin­sey and Worth streets.

Rents now pay the cur­rent mort­gage, taxes and bills. Al­li­ance Bank is fin­an­cing the build­ing im­prove­ments, Abdo and Kelly said, adding that the part­ners have chipped in a lot of their own money, too.

“We took something that was a drain on the city,” Kelly said. “Now, it’s oc­cu­pied and gen­er­at­ing taxes.” 



The old Globe Dye Works

Ad­dress: 4520-40 Worth St.

Size: Globe’s dozen build­ings take up more than 73,000 square feet.

Own­ers: Matt and Ian Pap­pa­john (Pap­pa­john Wood­work­ing), Brendan Kil­roy (Erect­or Sets), Mike and Rich Pan­talone (ATB Elec­tric), Mark Gallini (GHI Design), Charlie Abdo and Pete Kelly, who are the part­ners in Globe De­vel­op­ment Group LP

Pur­chased: Dec. 10, 2007, for $675,000

Zoned: G2, Heavy In­dus­tri­al. Zon­ing vari­ances are be­ing sought to al­low a mix of res­id­ences and oth­er uses.

City taxes: $24,145.92.

His­tory: Globe Dye Works had been dy­ing yarn in Frank­ford since the middle of the 19th cen­tury. Ac­cord­ing to the prop­erty’s cur­rent own­ers, the com­pany ceased op­er­a­tions in 2005. Al­though Globe De­vel­op­ment’s part­ners have been trans­form­ing the build­ings in­to artists’ stu­di­os, kit­chens and of­fices, many ele­ments of the com­plex’s in­dus­tri­al past re­main on the premises. A two-story boil­er, nu­mer­ous big scales, old signs and many, many spools of old dyed yarn can be spot­ted dur­ing a walk-through.

Uses: Parts of the build­ing re­cently were util­ized in the pro­duc­tion of the movie Dead Man Down, and earli­er this month, fur­niture re­tail­er Ikea built a set for an ad­vert­ising bro­chure.

Ten­ants in­clude: An an­tiques im­port­er, boat build­ers, a cider maker, a chocol­ati­er, a cup­cake baker, a pub­lic re­la­tions firm, flor­ists, a HVAC con­tract­or, a pic­ture framer, a guacamole and salsa maker, and more than a dozen artists

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