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South Philly: Fruit moves, meat stays?

Produce brokers are weighing a move from South Philly's Food Distribution Center to Brian O'Neill's property near the Airport. Brooks Provisions is selling its FDC home, but broker Steve Marzullo (CBRE) says it all adds up to opportunity for merchants who want to expand there.

Brooks Provisions is selling its 86,000 sq ft warehouse and wholesale space for meat, cheese and other foodstuffs at 3445-3535 S. Front St. to Ashforth Paradigm Capital Advisors, Boston, for $7.7 million, just as produce brokers elsewhere in the Food Distribtuion Center are reviewing a state- and federally-subsidized plan to move to Brian O'Neill's property on Essington Ave. in Southwest Philadelphia.
  That doesn't mean food businesses are waving South Philadelphia goodbye, says Stephen Marzullo of CB Richard Ellis Inc., who represented the Brooks affiliate that made the sale. 
  "This location is phenomenal for anyone who owns their facilities," said Marzullo, ticking off highway, rail and nearby port connections.
  The Brooks family, he said, is selling for its own reasons, and will remain on the site for at least a few years more.
  And if the fruit and vegetable brokers do pull out, going to the Philadelphia International Airport neighborhood, where they'll need a train spur and other improvements, that makes more room for the meat, cheese and fish crowd who want to expand their businesses at the center, Marzullo says.