Philly's Current Industrial Landscape

Written by: Jon Tehrani

The transformations are beautiful.

Vacant factories - once the production sites for shoes, textiles, bicycles - revived in new incarnations as loft apartments or commercial, mixed use. With such a rich industrial history, and a population on the rise, we at FixList decided to explore the current landscape for industrial land in Philadelphia (for this report, land with an I-1, I-2, or I-3 base zoning). Where are industrial parcels located? How is the land currently being used? What trends are emerging in sales and otherwise?

Pictured: Oxford Mills in South Kensington - Image Source: Barton Partners

Leveraging our location intelligence platform, we analyzed the data and uncovered some big takeaways:

Figure 1 - Number of Industrial Parcels, Aggregated by Zip Code

With the exception of 19146, zip codes with the most parcels of relevant industrial land are concentrated in the Lower Northeast as seen in Figure 1. Only 28% of these parcels are actively being used for industrial purposes (see Figure 2) with equitable amounts either currently vacant land, or converted to either commercial or single-family residential.

Table 1 - Top 10 Phila Zip Codes by Count of Industrial Land Parcels

Zip Code Industrial Parcel Count Sq Ft of Land (In Millions)
19134 890 31.1
19140 719 18.2
19124 635 26.8
19133 530 5.2
19122 508 5.2
19146 344 8.9
19125 271 2.1
19116 255 33.9
19145 254 49.8
19136 226 23.6

Figure 2 - Number of Parcels of Industrial Land Aggregated by OPA Category Code Description

Location, Location, Location:

Industrial Land Sales Highlight Impact of a Healthier Residential Market

Figure 3 provides a year-over-year sales comparison between 2008 and 2016 according to most recent sale date, for the six zip codes with the most sales of industrial parcels during this time.

Unlike recession years, when sales in 19124 and 19134 inflated overall totals for the cohort, stronger performance post recession is the result of contributions from all six zip codes.

Figure 3 - Sales of Industrial Land, 2008-2016

19122 and 19125, zip codes with single digit sales during recession years, consistently realized significantly stronger performance since 2012, likely influenced by the emergence of these areas as Philadelphia’s hottest residential real estate sub-markets in recent years.

As seen in Table 2, the opportunity for reactivation of these industrial spaces is still impressive. Here, active land represents parcels currently being used for industrial, commercial, or residential purposes, and inactive land represents vacant land. Even in 19122, which had the second most sales of industrial land citywide in 2016, over 25% and over one million square feet of vacant land suggests the potential for growth.

Table 2 - Square Footage of Active and Vacant Industrial Land as of July 2017

Zip Code Total Current Active Sq. Ft. Total Current Inactive Sq. Ft. Percent Inactive
19133 2,994,350 2,175,814 42%
19134 18,687,373 12,456,324 40%
19125 1,446,688 627,388 30%
19122 3,882,822 1,326,808 25%
19124 21,716,395 5,124,412 19%
19140 15,074,210 3,134,815 17%

Is Now the Time to Redevelop Industrial Land?

Reviving vacant, industrial land as residential and mixed use is likely to increasingly become worth the risk. Advances in technology are fundamentally changing manufacturing processes as well as consumer preferences, and recent population growth is contributing to a thriving market for real estate. Already, property assessment data suggests that more than half of the land with an industrial I-1, I-2, or I-3 base zoning classification is being used for residential purposes or is currently vacant, further suggesting a return to the manufacturing heydey of the mid-20th century is unlikely.

While this report focused in more depth on the six zip codes with the most sales from 2008-16, it’s worth noting that excellent opportunities exist citywide. For example, the zip codes which round out the top 10 most industrial parcels list (19146, 19116, 19145, 19136) each contain a significant amount of industrial land. Additionally, as sales numbers for the top six zip codes reflect, when residential sub-markets start to heat up then circumstances change regarding the viability of redeveloping nearby industrial land.

Find Opportunities

To find opportunities to revitalize vacant, industrial properties, sign up for FixList’s free trial service today. For more information on sub-market reports, contact us at

More detailed information regarding the zoning classifications referenced in this report can be found via the Philadelphia Zoning Quick Reference Guide.