The Force Field Project: Jo-Mar Warehouse Gets Shut Down

by Paddy Johnson and Henry Kaye on June 24, 2014 · 7 comments Newswire

The crumbling Jo-Mar Warehouse

The Jo-Mar Warehouse

The Force Field Project, a Philadelphia-based collective that exhibits upcoming artists and musicians alike has been forced to shut down their latest show after having raised $4,885 on Indiegogo. Scheduled to take place June 21st and 22nd at the Jo-Mar warehouse, the event would have been the biggest weekend-long art and music project to hit Philadelphia.

As of June 20th, supporters got an email in their inbox reading “We regret to inform you that this weekend’s event will not go forward as planned.”

The Jo-Mar warehouse was issued a stop-work order for violating building, electrical, plumbing, and zoning codes. As a result of these issues, Shift Capital did not have a certificate of occupancy, which made any occupancy illegal. Artists and participants were forced to vacate the building by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 20th.

Force Field organizers were able to move the location of the concert to the Ice Box Project Space in the Crane Arts Building but so far the exhibition has no rescheduled date. What’s more, even the studios of the rent-paying tenants were vacated, leaving them without income after a hefty investment.

Shift Capital acknowledged the building’s need for repair in a statement saying, “We must respect the decision and will work closely with the City to rectify the situation for our tenants and community.”



Brian Pallozzi June 24, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Why didn’t anyone mention that Force Field applied for a temporary liquor license without notifying MaKen or clearing it with the property managers? Thank you Force Field for getting the tenants locked out of their businesses!

Paddy Johnson June 24, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Was that what tipped the city off? I wondered why Shift Capital agreed to the event at all since it seemed like Force Field was high profile to bring attention to the building and thus its lack of CofO.

Brian Pallozzi June 24, 2014 at 7:16 pm

I couldn’t say they are that high profile, none of my friends ever heard about them either. From what I’m told, they blindsided the folks at MaKen/Shift Capital on quite a few issues. They even had a bunch of stuff hanging from the sprinkler system, which is a major safety issue and grounds for shutdown right there. So thank you Force Field for putting all of the businesses out of business with your idiocy and lack of concern for anyone but yourselves.

Paddy Johnson June 24, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Maybe high profile is the wrong word. Visible? I assume raising close to $5000 on indigogo and launching a giant party attracts some attention.

Anyway, yes. This doesn’t seem like it worked out well for anyone who was renting from Shift Capital.

fishtownlarry June 24, 2014 at 11:51 pm

The week of Force Field, there was a cover page story at the Philadelphia Weekly. If it wasn’t high profile before, it was when the paper came out.

Metzger Esq June 24, 2014 at 7:56 pm

It’s my understanding that Maken signed a contract with the various organizations involved (e.g. Phil. Culture Works) early on stating they had the legal ability to host the Force Field event in their buildings (i.e. they stated/lied that they had a CofO). Brian, I feel awful for the tenants such as yourself who have lost their places of business. It’s a tragedy – everyone has lost a lot of time and money, especially the tenants. But your blame seems misplaced: it’s not Force Field’s fault that Maken was operating illegally, and that Maken hid that fact from FF until too late. Maken knew that Force Field was going to be selling beer – did they expect them to do so without a liquor license and risk imprisonment? If Maken had been forthright with the organizations involved (if not the city) all of this could have been prevented. A temporary CO could have been acquired, or at least they could have found a route that bypassed L&I.

fishtownlarry June 24, 2014 at 11:46 pm

Brian, I know emotions are high right now, but maybe you should look at the bigger picture here. The building leased out to tenants without a CofO regardless of whatever event was happening at the time.

Philadelphia (L and I) has been more and more aggressive about doing things the right way and getting property owners to get their affairs in order. If the property owners want to do right, they will tend to the violations as quickly as possible so that you can get back to your business as it happened at Viking Mills not that long ago. Lots of businesses and artists were displaced there too but the building violations were dealt with, and now as I understand it, getting back to it.

Lets set aside the blames. What happened, happened, and move beyond this. Nobody intentionally did anything to hurt anyone. Its best to move forward and make the best of the situation.

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