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Philly developer targets old phone buildings

Philly developer targets old phone buildings

You know all those old Bell Telephone local-exchange call centers scattered around the country? That used to be in every town and neighborhood? Like so many post offices for the copper-wire, pre-fiber, pre-wireless age?

Developers Ken Weinstein and Stan Smith of are collecting them, and buildings like them. They just paid $1.1 million to SK Chestnut St. LLC for the 84,000-square-foot former Verizon Corp. building at 7200 Chestnut St., across the street from the Upper Darby municipal building. And they're rehabbing the long-vacant, 42,000 square foot former Bell Telephone Co. building in Norristown at 401 DeKalb St., across from the back of the Montgomery County courthouse.

"The most likely use for them is office and professional," said Weinstein, whose clients are mostly nonprofits. But Norristown has also linced up "incentives" for bringing in a restaurant, he added.

Cushman & Wakefield broker Brian Hilger represented PhillyOfficeRetail, which also has office rehabs in West Philly, Hunting Park, Mount Airy and Germantown.