Cescaphe founder and CEO Joe Volpe has purchased a warehouse at Fairmount Avenue and 10th Street in Philadelphia and is converting it into an extension of his event business.
Volpe paid $7 million for 920-942 Fairmount Ave., which consists of four connected warehouse buildings totaling about 35,000 square feet. The seller was an entity affiliated with Tracey Furniture.
When Ken Mallin and Veronica Blum of MPN Realty Inc. began to market the property, they initially targeted developers since the parcel totals about 50,000 square feet and is steps away from the Rail Park. When the reception from developers was tepid, they switched gears and began to focus on businesses that could use the existing structure, Mallin said.
“It’s a crazy, funny story as to how I got to that property,” Volpe said. “When we opened up Vie on Broad Street and moved our offices there, I bought 50 desks from the building.”
Volpe recalled thinking at the time, which was nearly 10 years ago, about how big the building was, what good condition it was in and made a mental note. When the property came up for sale, Volpe seized on the opportunity to buy it, attracted to its size, unobstructed floors and gated parking.
Three tenants in the events business are moving into the space. They are: Beautiful Blooms, a floral design company that did more than 800 weddings last year; Papertini, a boutique event design studio; and Delaware Valley School of Floral Design, which was established by Carl Schwartz of Carl Alan Floral Artistry.
The idea is essentially a one-stop shop for those planning a wedding or event. “A couple will be able to go there and pick out all of their needs. It will be really convenient,” Volpe said. “It’s going to be an awesome space.”
Beautiful Blooms will be the first to move in next month and is in the process of fitting out its space and relocating vases, candle holders and hundreds of other items it uses for wedding and special occasions. It is moving those items from two separate buildings in Northern Liberties and, by consolidating into one space, expects to improve efficiencies created by not having to shuttle between two locations. The florist expects to have 80 employees working from the space, designing arrangements, consulting with couples and managing the thousands of flowers it prepares.
Papertini and the floral design school will follow and move over the next couple of months with all three anticipated to be operational before wedding season gets underway in the spring.
On the exterior, Volpe plans to paint the building a new color from what is now royal blue and has enlisted an artist, Joe Dougherty, to design and paint a mural on one of the walls.
In addition to Vie, Cescaphe has seven venues including the Lucy in Center City, Tendenza in Northern Liberties and Water Works near Boathouse Row and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.