Crews with cranes are picking off the bricks of Ortlieb’s Brew House and Stock House, beginning the slow demolition of one of the last great remnants of Northern Liberties’ industrial past.
The demolition began a few weeks ago. Bart Blatstein, who turned the nearby Schmidt’s Brewery into the mixed-use mega-project called the Piazza, and who’s owned the Ortlieb’s property since 2000, said the demolition is likely to be finished by the end of the year.
Blatstein said he spent some years trying to figure out an adaptive reuse for the brewery, but decided in the end that the condition of the buildings was just too poor.
Blatstein is also the owner of 400 N. Broad Street, the former home of the Inquirer and Daily News. He is in the running for a casino license from the state gaming board, which he’d use to transform the former news tower into The Provence, a Frenchified gambling complex with a hotel, restaurants and other uses.
Blatstein says he’ll replace the Ortlieb’s buildings with a residential use, which he says will contribute to the street’s transformation into the nicest in the neighborhood, though he could offer no further details about what the project would entail or when it would move forward.
“It’s a living thing,” Blatstein said.
Referring to his plans, of course. The old brewery is a dying thing.
Jared Brey is a freelance reporter based in Philadelphia. His work has been featured in Philadelphia magazine, Hidden City, The Philadelphia Inquirer, City & State, and other publications. He covered development, zoning policy, historic preservation, and city government for PlanPhilly from 2011-2016.