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Development group sees return of creative users to 915 Spring Garden St. building

The old Reading Railroad building at 915 Spring Garden St., which once accommodated about 100 artist studios, has been acquired by a local development group that plans a return of creative users to the property.

Arts & Crafts Holdings, which has snapped up a number of other properties in the immediate area north of Center City, paid $6.5 million for the 75,000-square-foot building, according to records filed with the city.

Craig Grossman, an Arts & Crafts general partner, said in an email that office tenants from creative fields are being sought for the more-than-100-year-old building, which will also accommodate studios for artists and craftspeople.

The developers also hope to lease the five-story building's ground-floor space to a locally based retail tenant, Grossman said.

Arts & Crafts' other holdings in the area include the former Haverford Cycle Co. building at 448 N. 10th St., a onetime factory that now includes apartments at 1027 Ridge Ave., and 990 Spring Garden St., an office building where Roy-Pitz Brewing Co. of Chambersburg, Pa., is working to open a ground-floor brew pub.

Other investors have been drawn to the area, as well, lured by plans to landscape the abandoned elevated tracks into public space known as the Rail Park.

The 915 Spring Garden St. property, built about 1910 as an office building to support railroad operations, had long accommodated creative users, with its interior sectioned off into artist studios for about three decades.

That changed in September 2015, when a fire started at a refrigerator on the  fourth floor resulted in the building's closure.

Grossman said his development group "will be preserving the original bones of the building, sensitively renovating it, and bringing it up to code, while creatively differentiating the asset."