About four years ago, news broke that a new home for West Collection, a contemporary art collection assembled by SEI Investments founder Alfred West and his daughter Paige West, would be built in Fishtown on the site of an old warehouse and piece of vacant land at 1115-27 Frankford Avenue.
At the time, little details about the project were released other than what was available within the permit documents. The project entailed the renovation of the warehouse and the construction of a 5-story addition on the vacant lot to the north of the warehouse.
In the years since the original zoning permits for the project were issued, we heard very little about the proposed contemporary art museum until this summer when an updated zoning permit for the project was issued. The new zoning permit did not include the 5-story addition. Instead, a two story addition and hardscaped plaza were planned on the lot to the north of the warehouse.
The zoning documents illustrated the addition being constructed out of shipping containers. With a little digging, we were able to find that the design team for the addition is LOT/EK, a New York based design studio that has created several interesting projects involving shipping containers and has done work with The Whitney Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and The Guggenheim Museum.
Shortly after the new zoning permit was issued for West Collection, a construction permit was issued in October. However, in the months since its issuance, we saw very little change on the site. That is, until just earlier this week. A “work in progress” sign now hangs on the warehouse’s facade and we saw people actively working within the building when we walked by yesterday. It looks like this transformative project for Fishtown is finally moving forward.
Over the last several years, we’ve told you about countless new apartment buildings in Fishtown and the surrounding area. Each of these projects has had its impact on the neighborhood, and Fishtown has transformed into one of the most energetic neighborhoods in Philadelphia. However, we think that the West Collection could have more of a positive impact on Fishtown than any of those other projects.
When complete, not only will a long-blighted warehouse and piece of land along Frankford Avenue be reactivated, but a world class contemporary art collection will call Fishtown home. West Collection will further put Fishtown on the map and will make the neighborhood a destination for aesthetes around the region and even the world. We could really see West Collection being the catalyst for the next step in the evolution of Fishtown.
How do you feel about a contemporary art museum opening on Frankford Avenue? Are you excited to see this project moving forward?
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