Architectural Committee rejects concept for Warner Brothers building

The Architectural Committee of the Philadelphia Historical Commission met on Tuesday, June 24 to discuss the concept for construction of an addition to one of Philly’s historically significant buildings.


Standing since 1946, the building in question was for many years a film distribution center for Warner Brothers. It was designed by architect William Harold Lee and received Individual Historic Designation in 2008 and remains largely unchanged to this day. It is located on a busy city block bordered by Broad and 13th street, one block away from Philadelphia’s convention center.


The meeting took place to discuss the Baywood Hotels’ proposal to build a nine-story tower on top of the existing building, to create an 11-story hotel. The Foundation For Bbbsa’s (Big Brothers Big Sisters) is the current owner.


The committee reviewed the plans for the addition, and found that the tower’s design would likely “overwhelm” the historical building due to its large scale, making the historic building appear to be an irrelevant facade on 13th street. The Committee recommended denial of this particular design because it was too squat and too far forward on the building. In fact, all but one Committee member recommended redesigning the hotel with a taller tower, set farther back on the building.


The architects are now studying such a redesign. 


PlanPhilly has hired a fulltime videographer who will produce regular content from the Art Commission, the Historical Commission, the Zoning Board of Adjustment, and the Planning Commission, including Civic Design Review and all District Planning meetings.




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