It isn't every day that you get explore an abandoned factory that's been shut down for decades. So when local Philadelphia developer, Jake Liefer, told me he had just purchased an old Milk Depot, sight-unseen, at a sheriff sale, and was removing the padlock to explore it for the first time, I knew I had to be a part of it.
When I first stepped inside, the afternoon winter sun was streaming through massive garage doors at the entrance. The old doors had become translucent over time and they were glowing a rich, golden color. It cast a soft light on an otherwise dismal and chaotic scene. There were old cars, old doors, stacks of tires, trees growing through the roof, trash everywhere, and yes, even an old milk bottle.
The place was, after all, a functioning milk depot once upon a time. Amid the rubble and debris, there were still reminders of this everywhere. Locker units, still open, lined the 2nd floor entry, after we scurried up a stair well that had become more of a ramp over time as the individual stairs collapsed over time.
There was also some beautiful, original artifacts that I know Jake is hoping that he can maintain. Some of the old subway tile is remarkably well intact and has stood up to the elements (and graffiti artists) quite well.
And as much of a toll as time had taken on individual sections – with collapsing walls, missing windows, and missing roofs – the foundation itself seemed solid and unmovable. This structure was build to stand hundreds of years, even if the milk depot business model was not.
Good things are coming to the space, and to Brewerytown in general. I can't wait to catch up on this later and see all that Jake does with the space!