|By Eric C. Rodenberg
PHILADEPHIA – Kamelot Auctions will soon be radically increasing its footprint in the Philly auction and antique market.
For more than 15 years the auction firm has been housed in a 20,000-square-foot-facility in the city’s historic Atwater-Kent radio manufacturing plant. Beginning in November, the Jeff Kamel will be moving his firm into a new home that will increase the auction’s space more than five fold and introduce a high-end antique mall. Co-owner Jeff Kamel is also quick to note the move, “brings us 30 minutes closer to our clients in New York City.”
Kamelot will begin conducting its auctions from the Court Richmond area of the city, about eight blocks from the Delaware River. That building – primarily a brick 19th century commercial/industrial affair which once housed production facilities for Plantation Chocolate - is located at 2216 East Allegheny Ave. It will give Kamelot much more room – 116,000 square feet – to enable the company to venture out into other aspects of the antique industry.
Kamelot purchased the building about two years ago, Kamel said. “It’s a great building,” Kamel said. “Big, brick – stretching out over 400 feet long and four stories. It has an old wood interior that we have been sanding. It’s had a long history. Before it was Plantation Chocolate, it was a matting and carpet facility, a lingerie factory … there were a lot of business here, that was back in the day if a company needed to add a building, their employees would just put it up.”
Often, it is difficult to convey the size of a building with sheer dimensions. However, after sandblasting about 90,000 square feet of the building’s walls with tiny glass beads striking the brick, Kamel, said 32 tons of debris was removed from the building.
“Thirty-two tons of debris, and that’s not an exaggeration,” Kamel said.
Kamel said the company is putting around $2 million into renovating the building to their needs.
The bottom floor of the facility will be used for auction-related activities, with signage for Kamelot Auction House.
The second and third floors will be devoted to “Showrooms at 2220,” which Kamel sees as a lineup of high-end antique dealers drawing customers to a design center, delivering a “one-stop shopping experience.” On these two floors, Kamel said, will be an architect to advise customers with design ideas and helping them find architectural decorative and necessary structural components.
“Showrooms at 2220” will also have an interior designer, a furniture refinisher and an upholsterer. “This will be the largest ’one-stop’ shopping source for antiques in the country,” Kamel said, “… and maybe even the world. My partner travels the world for Kamelot, and he doesn’t know of any such locations that are larger.”
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