Chocolate Factory on the Move?

Several years ago, plans came together to renovate 2101 Washington Ave., the former Frankford Chocolate Factory. In 2012, after a host of changes, the ZBA approved plans for a Campbell Thomas designed mixed-use redevelopment on the site. Since then, the owner of the site (who apparently wasn't such a great dude) passed away, and the property has sat vacant. Sporadic interior demolition work has inspired nearby residents to continue to hope for the renovation of this property, which at 100,000 sqft takes up an entire city block.

Chocolate Factory

This week, several readers have informed us that a new sign has appeared on the property. CBRE is actively marketing the building for sale. The current owners bought it less than a decade ago for $5.75M, and a Business Journal article suggests that the expected sale price is between ten and fifteen million. The sale is precipitated by a court order to liquidate Truong's assets, as he died without a will.

Newish sign on the property

With the property now on the market, it's time to start thinking about the property's future. A new owner could theoretically revisit the approved plan a couple of years ago.

Rendering of the approved project

Alternately, someone could come in and demolish the entire structure and replace it with homes on Kimball Street and a huge new construction mixed-use building on Washington Avenue. Then there's some buzz on the Washington Avenue Advocates Facebook page that MaST Charter School, which currently has a location in the Northeast, already has signed a letter of intent to move into a portion of the building and open a school as early as 2015.

Our best guess is that the building will get renovated and a ton of new apartment units will finally arrive on Washington Avenue with a bunch of commercial mixed in. Clearly this would be transformational, and we'd hope it would spur additional residential development on the corridor. But whatever eventually happens, it's wonderful to learn that the building will soon be unlocked from limbo and near neighbors will finally see change come to this gigantic property.