The Frankford Arsenal is a 20-acre complex that originally opened in 1816. Ammunition and weapons were manufactured, stored, repaired, and engineered at the location, which played a major part in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and The Vietnam War. At its peak, 22,000 people worked at The Arsenal. Everything from muskets to laser weapons technology was developed at The Frankford Arsenal throughout its life as a military facility until it closed in 1977.
In August of 2018, Alliance HSP acquired 6 buildings totaling nearly 210,000 square feet at the complex with the goal of transforming them into creative office and light manufacturing spaces. Alliance HSP is well on its way with multiple buildings already converted and some really cool tenants calling The Arsenal home. Some of those tenants include SoulFull, OATLY! (which I’m drinking in my coffee as I type this), Imperial Yeast, Singularis, and Bayada.
Another awesome tenant that we had the pleasure of meeting with while touring The Arsenal is Oat Foundry. Oat Foundry is a creative engineering and product development company. You’ve likely seen (and heard) their Split Flap Displays. Oat Foundry famously recreated the 30th Street Station flipboard sign when it was removed from the train station in 2019. Now, they use the same technology to make their Split Flap Displays for mega brands around the globe such as Starbucks, Honeygrow, Kit Kat, Herschel Supply Co., and your hometown Philadelphia Phillies among others.
The Arsenal will be even more comfortable for these tenants in the near future as there will soon be a cafe on the premises. Chef Khoran Horn will be opening the Guard House Café in the small building at the entrance of The Arsenal. The interior buildout is nearing completion and the cafe should open within the next couple of months.
It’s really amazing to see all of these buildings transformed to suit new commercial uses. We’ve seen countless old factories in Philadelphia get demolished or converted into residential buildings over the years. As this continues to happen, the city is slowly losing its manufacturing infrastructure. The wide open floorplans, high ceilings, large windows, mushroom columns, and old school industrial feel of the buildings at The Arsenal cannot be recreated. The spaces within The Arsenal truly have a special feeling to them.
Although we love to see residential conversions of old factories and warehouses, its very nice to see these buildings repurposed for today’s manufacturing needs. Philadelphia was once called “the workshop of the world” and we need to continue to make and create here if we want to grow as a city. Small businesses are the backbone of America and Philadelphia. If we want to attract creative companies to the city and provide them with an environment that will inspire them to succeed, we need more places like The Arsenal in Philadelphia.
If you’re a business looking for an office or light manufacturing space, definitely go check out The Arsenal. There are spaces of all sizes, shapes, and forms available. The complex is located less than 15 minutes from Center City and a few blocks from the Bridesburg regional rail station. Secure a new space for your business before they’re all leased up.
Kyle is a commercial real estate agent at Rittenhouse Realty Advisors, a homeowner, and a real estate investor in Philadelphia. Kyle uses his extensive Philadelphia real estate market knowledge to help his clients buy and sell multifamily investment properties, development opportunities, and industrial sites.
Email Kyle@RittenhouseRealty.com if you are looking to buy or sell a property