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How to Restore an Abandoned Milk Depot in Brewerytown

February 10, 2015


Step 1: Have the passion and means to create positive change in your neighborhood.

Step 2: (As Indy Hall famously says…) Just Fucking Do It.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting Jake Liefer, a young, inspired Philadelphian among many in the city right now. Jake recently purchased an abandoned milk depot in his old neighborhood of Brewerytown. He purchased the building at a sheriff’s sale with the goal restoring it to its former glory and possibly turning it into housing.

The building takes up a decent chunk of an otherwise residential street and has been abandoned for many years. Over those years, sadly, it appears that it may have been used to raise and train dogs for fighting. As Jake walked me through the space, he pointed my attention to two smaller inclosed rooms where I saw a number of dog bowls, animal crates, scratches on the walls, and even animal bones. (I have, for obvious reasons, decided not to post these photos.)

Details on the restoration are slim at this point. The sale JUST happened, and Jake is currently looking at the building with inspectors to determine the feasibility of restoring the building, but the excitement and drive are there!

As I recently wrote, about the restoration of the Goldtex Building last week, I think architectural gems like this little milk depot are what help to make Philadelphia a special place to live and work. We have an amazing history. As TEDxPhilly reminded us last year, we were once (and are becoming again) the Workshop of the World. When we can, I think we should be saving these old buildings and finding new uses for them. And that’s just what Jake is trying to do!

Another plus? While the building is going through its inspections and (hopefully) restoration, Jake will be working with me to find artists to install work on the outside of the space. But more on that soon. In the meantime…

Talking about young, inspired Philadelphians trying to save Philly spaces, check out Lindsey Scannapieco’s vision for South Philadelphia’s abandoned Bok School HERE.

And as always, find more explorations into Abandoned Philadelphia HERE!


2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 12, 2015 12:40 pm

    I know there are many people working to restore Philadelphia.
    I think it would be valuable for Jake and myself to be in contact.
    I would gladly provide help, and I know my firm would as well.
    I am a young architect with big ambitions for restoration of Philadelphia.
    (I also live in reality)
    The firm I am at currently is working on 4 large projects in Brewerytown to restore “affordable” modern living space.
    I would love to be in contact with StreetsDept, and Jake for further information.


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