A Missed Opportunity For One Forgotten Center City Neighborhood

 

Rendering courtesy of spg3 architects

Rendering courtesy of spg3 architects

  • In her “Changing Skyline” column for The Inquirer, Inga Saffron laments the decreasing willingness of the Historical Commission “to protect the public patrimony” by withstanding misguided notions of adaptive reuse. In a case of lazy stewardship strongly reminiscent of the Boyd Theater, the commission is set to okay Baywood Hotels’ plans to plop a nine-story tower atop the 1946 two-story Art Deco Warner Bros. film exchange building at 13th & Florist (the city’s first post-Second World War structure to be historically designated). Even granting that, spg3’s design speaks more for 1932 than for 2014, she says. An impressive modern design for the vertical addition could have catalyzed its neighborhood (that the later Center City boom seemed to forget) in emerging “as a new neighborhood, an arts district, or a center for tech startups.”
  • As D3 Real Estate puts the finishing touches on its $36 million Oxford Mills in South Kensington, the Philadelphia Business Journal stops by to get a sense of why its innovative, education-centric business model has proven itself “so far an early success.”Over 75% of Oxford Mills’ 114-units have already been leased out, says D3 principal Greg Hill. “While the rental numbers and other indicators show this type of special development can work, Hill is hesitant to say whether it can be easily replicated.” He says, “it’s a delicate balance. You have to have the right site, the right neighborhood…It’s a very challenging type of project.”
  • Plan Philly takes note of yesterday’s first official public meeting for the long-sought central Land Bank,a ten-minute affair that saw the unanimous election of its first board members.
About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

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