Warehouse construction begins at the former PES refinery in South Philly.

Demolition of the old PES Refinery at HRP’s Bellwether District build site, October 22, 2021, Philadelphia, Pa.

The former PES refinery located in South Philadelphia which used to be the largest oil refinery on the East Coast is now entering its newest chapter. Construction has begun on the site, with plans of erecting the first warehouse on this site. The new factory will be more than 300,000-square-foot and developers estimate it will be complete by the end of 2024. The old refinery permanently shut down in 2019 after a fire and a series of explosions which released over 5,000 pounds of dangerous hydrofluoric acid into the air, endangering thousands of Philadelphians living in the area at the time. Parts of the site along the Schuylkill River in South and Southwest Philadelphia were used for petroleum-related industry dating back to the Civil War period, contaminating the soil and groundwater beneath the site. The refinery operator declared bankruptcy after the fire and laid off over 1,000 employees. In 2020, Hilco Redevelopment Partners (HRP) bought the site for $225 million, and has begun preparing the site for construction. Both HRP and Evergreen– an affiliate of former owner Sunoco– are responsible for remediating the site. Community benefit agreement talks between HRP and more than two dozen local Registered Community Organizations and other stakeholders started last spring. Some nearby residents and activists have called for fossil fuel-free development on the site, as well as guarantees around employment, anti-displacement and environmental health.

Read more at https://whyy.org/articles/south-philly-refinery-construction-begins/