Repurposing of 1920 packing plant to revitalize Cambridge, MD historic area

Preservation Maryland, the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, and Cross Street Partners are collaborating on a major rehabilitation project, that–once complete–will revitalize the Cannery District of Cambridge, Maryland with 60,000 square feet of mixed-use space in a historic, 1920 building.

The plan is to rehabilitate the Phillips Packing House Building into a mixed-use center for local food production, micro-brewing, non-profit organizations and companies/institutions seeking a collaborative work environment.

On October 12, 2016 the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce hosted two speakers who offered updates on two projects that could greatly change Cambridge’s character — the Cambridge Gateway and the Phillips Packing Plant.

Both Frank Narr, president of Sailwinds Park Inc. who spoke on the gateway, and Katie Parks, Center for Towns director for Eastern Shore Land Conservancy who spoke about the packing plant, offered positive perspectives on their respective projects and what they mean for the city and Dorchester County.

The 60,000-square-foot vacant packing plant building is the last remaining structure from what was once a 60-acre Phillips Packing Company campus. Phillips was the biggest producer of K-rations in the U.S. during World War II. With the packing company came worker housing which is now the historic Pine Street neighborhood. The building was in danger of being demolished soon if not redeveloped and occupied.

The 60,000 SF historic Phillips Packing House Building will now be repurposed as a mixed-use center for local food production, micro-brewing, non-profit organizations and companies/institutions seeking a collaborative work environment. The food component, which includes a kitchen business incubator, will build off the Eastern Shore’s famed farming resources and growing local food economy to create a food and farming exchange.

Originally built in 1920 as a furniture factory, the building later became part of the Phillips Packing Company empire, which employed thousands of people in Cambridge at its peak and supplied rations to troops during WWII. The building features an open floor plan, soaring ceilings, and the opportunity to retain many historic architectural features that will enhance the space with an authentic, Eastern Shore manufacturing aesthetic.

Building Features:

  • Potential uses include office, small and medium-scale food production, retail and event space
  • Iconic 90-foot smokestacks highly visible from Route 50
  • 12 – 40 foot ceilings, factory windows, skylights, and exposed brick walls
  • 150 parking spaces and loading bay
  • Adjacent green space at Cannery Park
  • Outdoor dining area
  • Certified historic preservation targeting LEED certification
  • Located in a Maryland Enterprise Zone, providing significant tax incentives
  • One block off Route 50, providing access to Baltimore-Washington Corridor and MD/DE beaches

Adjacent to the Phillips Building is the future site of Cannery Park, a new “central park” for the City of Cambridge that will incorporate active and passive spaces for recreation.

See partnership announcement on Preservation Maryland site.

See article by Bob Zimberoff in Dorchester Banner.

See Cross Street Partners leasing brochure for Phillips plant + image credit (PDF).

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