Preservation Update: Dilworth Plaza, Libraries, Hillman Center

From the Preservation Alliance‘s monthly e-newsletter:

Dilworth Plaza Plans Advance
The Philadelphia Historical Commission granted conceptual approval at its May meeting to the Center City District’s plan to redesign Dilworth Plaza, adjacent to City Hall. CCD’s plan includes two glass, sloped-roof transit entries on axis with West Market Street, a glass structure containing a cafe and transit entrance in the northern portion, a large lawn and a versatile water element that may be turned off to allow use as a public gathering space. The plan also includes substantial below-grade changes to the concourse and transit entries. The Preservation Alliance testified at the Commission meeting, expressing concern about the lack of public input in the planning of this high-visibility public space, the nature of the design and the lack of public art as a defining element of the design. Click here for the Alliance’s full comments on the plans.

Carnegie Libraries Update

On June 12, the Philadelphia Historical Commission will review the recommendation of its Designation Committee to add four Carnegie branch library buildings to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. We encourage library friends to attend the Historical Commission meeting and show their support for their neighborhood library buildings (9am, 1515 Arch Street, Room 18-029). The Preservation Alliance nominated branch libraries in Haddington, Holmesburg, Logan and Kingsessing to the register in reaction to plans last year to close 11 branches of the Free Library, including the four Carnegie branches, due to city budget cuts. Read more.

Hillman Center Hearing Postponed
The Philadelphia Historical Commission has postponed until its June 12 meeting consideration of the demolition of the Sidney Hillman Medical Center, 2116-32 Chestnut Street. The building is the site of a proposed 32-story, mixed-use development. Under the current plan, the existing building would be demolished, along with a building at 2115-27 Sansom Street that also served union members. The building owner and joint venture partner, the John Buck Company, a Chicago developer, appeared before the Historical Commission’s Committee on Financial Hardship April 21 to make their ca se. John Gallery, executive director of the Preservation Alliance, questioned the efforts to consider alternative plans for the site and pointed to a lack of documentation regarding analysis and marketing of those alternatives. The committee requested additional information and analysis and recommended that the matter be tabled until such detail can be provided. Read more.

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