City approves $43 million warehouse plan for Frankford Arsenal property

Burris Logistics plans to invest $43 million to build a 264,000-square-foot food distribution warehouse on a portion of the former Frankford Arsenal site.

The city last week reached a $6.5 million deal with a food distribution company that plans to build a 264,000-square-foot warehouse on a portion of the former Frankford Arsenal site.

Burris Logistics, of Milford, Delaware, parent company of Philadelphia-based Honor Foods, plans to invest $43 million in the new facility on Tacony Street and add 70 new full-time jobs, according to documents provided by the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development.

When it’s completed, the food distribution center will be the latest addition to the Frankford Arsenal Business Center. The building will be constructed between the Dietz & Watson facility and the mixed-use development that includes Franklin Towne Charter School.

Burris Logistics said it expects to open the warehouse in 2020.

“Because of the service provided by our incredible team members, Honor Foods has truly been busting at the seams,” said Donnie Burris, the company’s CEO, in a statement. “This new facility will triple our capacity and will better enable us to serve both our customers and our vendor partners.”

Burris Logistics will be relocating Honor Foods from its current facility on N. 5th Street in Kensington, where it has been operating since 1983. All 109 current full-time positions will be retained during the move in addition to the estimated 70 new jobs, according to PAID.

Honor Foods was established in 1949 and acquired by Burris Logistics in 2007.

“We are thrilled to be able to take this 70-year-old company to another level while, importantly, being able to retain our Philadelphia roots, customers and team members,” Honor Foods President Walt Tullis said.

Honor Foods, which distributes frozen, refrigerated and dry food service products, serves nearly 800 clients in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the country, according to the company.

The board of directors of PAID, a city authority managed by the Philadelphia Investment Development Corporation, voted to approve the sale of the property during a meeting Sept. 25. PAID requested proposals for the 33.5-acre site at 5501 Tacony St. in March.

Burris Logistics was selected as the property’s developer through a competitive bid process, according to PAID.

Earlier this year, the state’s Historic and Museum Commission and the National Park Service removed almost the entire property from the federally protected Frankford Arsenal National Historic District, according to PAID. The only portion of the site with historic designation now is the wall and watchtower that run along Tacony Street.

Frankford Arsenal closed in 1977.

In addition, the site purchased by Burris Logistics is designated as a Keystone Opportunity Zone, meaning the owners are eligible for numerous city and state tax breaks.

Also during the Sept. 25 meeting, PAID authorized the sale of nearly 4 acres of the same Tacony Street property to Alliance Partners HSP for $905,000. Alliance is in the process of redeveloping six buildings at the Frankford Arsenal Business Center and is planning to use the 4 acres for parking. ••

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at jtomczuk@newspapermediagroup.com