Block that will host new cop shop, morgue and ME office gets zoning go-ahead

The wheels continue to roll along toward turning the imposing former Provident Mutual Life Insurance Building at 4601 Market St. into the new city police headquarters, which will also involve moving the medical examiner’s office and the city morgue to that site.

The majority of the 13-acre West Philadelphia parcel that sits between Market St., Haverford Ave. and 46th and 48th streets and will be the future home of the Public Safety Services Campus received zoning approval Tuesday from the Planning Commission. The change in zoning involved going from RSA2 and RSA3 to CMX3. A small section of residential housing on the site will not be affected.

The magnificent building which looms over the site was built in 1927, as the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Company headquarters with 325,000 square feet of office space on a 12-acre campus. Although not a registered historic building, the design team, led by the Ballinger Company, insist they will be sensitive to preserve the historic spaces and appearances that reflect the architectural charm of this building and campus.

Fulfilling the Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s 2035 Plan goals, the campus will also employ stormwater management practices, enhance public space, and have easy access to SEPTA’s Market-Frankford EL 46th Street Station.

Finding a new use for the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Building has long been supported by the local preservation community. The current Roundhouse and Health Department buildings are also seen as important works of municipal modernism that are worthy of preservation attention and adaptive reuse.

There will be a public meeting on the project on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 from 6-8 p.m (5:30 Registration). The meeting, hosted by Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell and Deputy Mayor Everett A. Gillison, will be held at West Philadelphia High School, 4901 Chestnut Street.

View full video of the hearing below

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