Grid magazine: Philadelphia factories are repurposed sustainably

Courtesy of Grid magazine
Courtesy of Grid magazine

The sustainable renovation of the Globe Dye Works, a former manufacturing complex in the Frankford neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia, is the focus of a story I have in Grid magazine this month.

For five generations and 140 years, the Globe Dye Works dyed and wound yarn, and employed hundreds at its peak. In 2005, unable to continue fighting the globalization and outsourcing that moved other businesses, Globe closed, ending another vestige of Philadelphia’s past as the Workshop of the World. Its 11 buildings and 165,000 square feet, located off Torresdale Avenue in the Frankford area of Northeast Philadelphia, were shuttered and left vacant. Read more here [PDF].

Check out the PDF and read the story on Page 18.

I also did a small feature on Globe Dye Works for NEast Philly. Grid is a fairly new magazine focused on Philadelphia sustainability and environmentalism, and it’s quickly growing attention for good reporting and sharp design. I’m proud to be a part.

Below see what didn’t make it into print.

gridmag-globedye-cutsheetSome quotations and interesting notes:

  • “At first I said ‘Frankford?” said Chuck Abdo, who’s leading the redevelopment of Globe. “But then I realized how close it is and how great and really historical it is.”
  • “You can get property like this in Kensington, but it will be twice as much and, really, twice as scary.”
  • “It’s great to see young people moving into these riverwards,” Abdo said. “Why not Frankford too?”
  • They want to be mixed-use, heavy in light industrial.
  • The Globe Dye Works complex is made of 11 buildings, the newest being made in 1928.
  • 3,000 square feet of executive offices that could be four or five green offices
  • Abdo’s Globe Development Group bought Globe in December 2007 and got their first tenant in March, a metal worker as reported by the Frankford Gazette.
  • It took the group eight trips before they made an offer.
  • “It’d be a spring day and everything was beautiful and we needed to have this building,” said Abdo, who moved to Philadelphia in 1975 and opened the North Star Bar in 1981. “Then we’d come back in the winter and it was gray and leaking and 20 degrees colder in here than outside and we rethought everything.”
  • They sold or donated many objects left in the warehouse, from cabinetry and glass to gooseneck lights.

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