Convention Center 2011: Then and Now

Discussion in 'Philadelphia Photos' started by mixiboi, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. mixiboi

    mixiboi Philly Remixed

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    I thought I do a photo update on the site:

    So we all know Rendell wanted to expand the Center so we could get bigger events:

    This is the original concept:

    [​IMG]

    Everyone had their own opinion on it, but the real fight came in saving three Historical buildings on the corner of Broad and Arch as seen in the second concept:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So the state said fine they won't destroy the buildings, but then this happen:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Why they didn't save the smaller historical buildings? Damage beyond repair the state said, and they could do whatever they wanted.

    So here we are now:

    [​IMG]

    and what about where the historical building were?

    [​IMG]


    Yeah, it looks so out of place, but hey maybe they can build a store/cafe there or something....
     
  2. DCnPhilly

    DCnPhilly Well-Known Member

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    I wish I would have taken more pictures of the buildings along 13th Street before they were demolished. I remember the morning that they imploded the high rise on Arch. It felt like a earthquake, and then later that day I was like, "wait, there used to be a building there."

    I would love to know if anyone out there has pictures of the original portion of the Convention Center during construction, and before construction. I've seen historic pictures of the area, but there is very little photographic record of the area from the 70's and 80's. I know it was a slum, but I'm sure someone documented the area before it was demolished.
     
  3. DCnPhilly

    DCnPhilly Well-Known Member

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    What I find interesting is that the space isn't quite wide enough to accommodate the missing buildings. I seriously doubt that the plans were redrawn to include this gap. I doubt the plans were redrawn at all. Either they never intended to include those two buildings, or someone engineered a boo-boo they wanted quickly demolished.
     
  4. desolate

    desolate Double spaced

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    The "historic" buildings had so much black mold and water damage they were unsalvagable. Unless you really, really need to save bland 60's architecture that was perfectly fine to rip down at Penn (same style and actually AIA award winning building was demo'd under praise from Inga) to build Skirkanich Hall.
     
  5. DCnPhilly

    DCnPhilly Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure the highrise on the corner is just as moldy. Either way, I'd rather have the facades of one or two of these buildings than this weird little nook that's gonna, what, be a new place for that fat naked crazy woman to lounge?
     
  6. desolate

    desolate Double spaced

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    Actually it wasn't. Just the smaller buildings. Black mold where you had to wear a respirator just to enter. It was behind the walls and the roof had failed.

    If you really wanted you could have saved the facades. Since they weren't really "historic" and the project had to be finished (little things like buying steel was tripling in cost as the commision tried to sae these under a streach of "historic"...

    It's why they did them over a holiday.
     
  7. eldondre

    eldondre Well-Known Member

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    it looks like they never changed the plans from when they were going to incorporate the buildings. personally, I'd rather have seen the odd fellows building stay and get rid fo the smaller ones. nonetheless, this seems par for the course for this ill advised boondoggle. they didn't even bother fixing labor relations before they went whole hog into a competitive and stagnant market like it was 1995. Rendell's incompetence as governor helps ensure no other Philadelphian will win for a while.
     
  8. DCnPhilly

    DCnPhilly Well-Known Member

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    I agree on the Odd Fellows. It was older, larger, and more culturally and historically significant.

    As for no other Philadelphian winning governor for a while, I don't think I'd count this as a bad thing. In fact I'd be happy with no other Philadelphian winning Mayor or City Council for a while either.
     
  9. phillyaggie

    phillyaggie Well-Known Member

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    It's almost a fetish in this town to save old buildings, if not whole than god dammit at least their facades. Meanwhile, the city doesn't have a ton of new look, new design buildings even though it is home to several nationally known and respected and some cutting edge architects and firms.

    There are so many places around town already with old facades preserved in front of new uses, new buildings. If you think of it, sometimes it feels like zombieland or a museum of sorts. I'm not saying go hack down all buildings and facades. I think it's great that as much of the history is preserved as possible. But ideally, I'd want the old buildings themselves preserved. And not by some historical commission edict, and at public's cost. But because there is business demand for all that space. Because the place is filled up with other businesses, plenty of jobs and genuine demand for space outstrips supply. That's what would ultimately save all these buildings that people wish could be saved.
     
  10. DCnPhilly

    DCnPhilly Well-Known Member

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    My biggest problem with demolishing old buildings isn't because of the buildings themselves (except in the case of certain buildings like The Divine Lorraine or The Hale Building), it's because Center City is littered with surface parking lots that could better be redeveloped than demolishing something old to build something new.

    Another issue I have is the shady way in which buildings are brought down due to "neglect". I've seen some seriously decrepit buildings saved elsewhere, but here we have a system for bringing down anything and a very slanted take on what is considered "uninhabitable" or a "shell".

    If you want something brought down, you buy a completely habitable building that hasn't been renovated (Divine Lorraine), have L&I declare it uninhabitable because it doesn't have central air conditioning or has a few layers of lead paint, let it set for a year, then offer the same goons a six pack of beer and they'll come back in and declare it a hazard. Bingo, doesn't matter how historic it is or how many schools in the city are in far worse condition, you're free to bring that building down because it's "unsafe" and thus beyond repair.
     
  11. eldondre

    eldondre Well-Known Member

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    I don't know that I agree. the problem isn't that we preserve too much it's that we don't build enough new. there's hardly a lack of spaces to build new...and much has been desstroyed. perhaps, coming from texas, you don't see it properly as a reaction against the rampant and ill advised demolition of architecturally significant places are part of urban renewal. have you read the killing broad st slowly thread? have you seen what they knocked down? would you recomend to a european capital that it shoudl knock down the grand buildings on its main avenue? perhaps "worse" than actually saving interesting old buildings is the tendency to commission shoddy knockoffs of older architectural styles (cough, convention center, cough)
     
  12. phillyaggie

    phillyaggie Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I have seen those threads and old pictures of how it *used to be* like. That's the point. You of all people here should know/understand. You talk about expenses and government spending. Well, it is quite expensive to try and preserve a building nobody wants, or a use that's no longer in need. Unless private sector wants all that old space, how are we to preserve all of it? And you can't simply dump a large convention center in the middle of no where or in some empty lot disjointed from other things. Where would you have put the expansion of the convention center? By all means, fix the business climate and tax structure so the empty lots are filled in with proper uses. But this is not the capital city of America, it's not even the capital city of the state. So you can't compare Philly to some European capital...Paris and London have all of France and England to pay for all the stuff they get to keep. Meanwhile, it's not like Philly is running out of well preserved old buildings. What the replacement may not be world class, but then, that's kind of what Philly's situation is presently isn't it?--not world class when it comes to capital infusion in the city. A lot if not all of those buildings were built when Philly was truly world class, comparable to those european capitals. Now, not so much. You can only build what you can afford. And you can only preserve the crumbling old stuff to a certain extent. In this regard, you've had huge debates with desolate/zur and while I'm not totally on desolate's side of things because some things are worth preserving and perhaps found new uses for...but what this city desperately needs is an infusion of money and people...otherwise, you'll continue to see things go down the tube...
     
  13. eldondre

    eldondre Well-Known Member

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    IMO, you couldn't be more off base. you don't know me at all if you think I'd recomend demolishing irreplacable buildings simply because you want more modern architecture. in case you aren't familiar with such things:
    Urban renewal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    if you want to keep propping up failed policies so that we can create more surface lots that's your bag. those buildings were largely cleared by public authorities most certainly under title 1 or some simlar program, not because they were cosintg the government money. indeed, the feds were subsidizing wholesale destruction of cities themselves, and here you go advocating the very thing that we still strive to recover from.




    in many cases, under title 1, functioning buildings were demolished for modernization. they were in use. certainly those buildings on north broad qualify as worth savings as now the they're gone, you have nothing worth being near. perhaps the more important question is why the private sectore wasn't interested in Philadelphia. not coincidentally, the older cities that are seeing the most revitalization appear to be the ones that made it through that era with something intact.

    the obvious answer is that I wouldn't have built the expansion at all. you complain that saving landmark buildings and corridors cost money, yet see nothing wrong with spending $800 million dollars on a stagnant market.
    if you've been to europe, you'd know that a lot of non-capital cities don' engage in wholesale destruction of their main corridors for no good reason.
    north broad st certainly was. what's left (the divine lorraine, metropolitan operra, handful of mansions in the temple area, were saved by preservationists and had all been slated for demolition. old city is tiny, much of it isn't old at all.


    right, which is why you don't knock down wholesale what you can't afford to replace. keeping them costs a fraction of constructing them, and it sets you apart, and gives the city something places like dallas will never have.

    for the record, those buildings people made a fuss about pale in comparison to what they knocked down on north broad st and really aren't a big deal IMO. they aren't willis hale, the water revenue, etc. as noted, I'd have preferred to see the odd fellows building saved over those two little ones. I didn't support the construction of the expansion and would rather have that money spent on a high speedrail connection to pittsburgh or simply gone to futher wage tax cuts.

    if you think wholesale demolition is the answer, I take it then you think we should have built the south st expressway?

    http://www.phillyroads.com/roads/west-philadelphia/
     
    #13 eldondre, Oct 22, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2010
  14. phillyaggie

    phillyaggie Well-Known Member

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    you're pinning me to wholesale demolition; i never said that i was for it. i only said that if old buildings are worth preserving, then there ought to be some market for them. old buildings sitting empty eventually crumble or otherwise become havens for the bums and in more lawless places like parts of Philly, potentially even more dangerous such as drugs markets. What happened to the recent fire/arson at the Germantown Y? But whatever. You'll either accept that or you won't. The new buildings have uses; you might not like them, but that's how it goes. If old buildings had uses, they'd likely be in better shape or better yet, be actually occupied.

    In a city like Philly, there is going to be a fine line to walk between preserving things and making way for new. And it's obvious that not everyone's going to be on board for every decision.

    BTW, how do you feel about knocking down the Hillman Medical building in order to build a new high rise, modern, glass-clad apartment building?


    And it's not like Dallas doesn't have any old buildings of its own. Fair Park in Dallas is one of the largest concentrations of Art Deco and is not just preserved but fairly well used too. Meanwhile, there are some very good old Art Deco and earlier style buildings in downtown that are sitting empty. Statdler Hilton is the dump with the homeless and pigeons going ape**** on it.
     
  15. eldondre

    eldondre Well-Known Member

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    that's exactly what happened on north broad st.

    that's a nice theory but as mentioned, demolition was subsidized, the term blight was abused, and more often than not, it result in degradation of the city rather than real renewal. I don't know that the world is as black and white as you're implying.

    I'm okay with it. Hillman detracts from city life by providing a blank wall the street. I know it's become the progressives darling and it woudl be great to modify the existing structure but it's not feasible. I suppose you'll turn around and say the hotel majestic was obsolte, that old hotels can't be refurbished, and I'lll respectfully disagree. I'll counter that a vacant lot that is later converted to gas station isn't an adequate replacement. the hillman center is a nice example because there's a real proposal for a replacement and one can make an informed decision.

    Dallas quite simply had a dearth of older buildings relative to Philadelphia. at any rate, I'd guess those art deco buildings sitting empty will be the basis for the fledgling residential movement in dallas. south beach was once half abandoned art deco buildings. they could have followed your lead and demolished everything with the idea there were no uses left...but they didn't, they were rehabbed, and now south beach is unique.

    http://www.phillyroads.com/roads/crosstown/
     
  16. phillyaggie

    phillyaggie Well-Known Member

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    again, you're falsely pinning me to "demolishing everything" simply because I have not come around to your way of thinking on this topic totally. I have never said that, so you mischaracterise what I'm saying.

    And with regards to Hillman, again, you seem to know exactly what I'm thinking or am going to say, while also pinning me to "progressives." Perhaps I can surprise you here. The issue of "blank walls" with that building has been debated elsewhere. As for me, I'm happy with the new building, and hope it can be built. That's because I feel that area of Center City really needs new, dense residential development so that CC and UC can begin to seamlessly merge and create a larger dynamic urban area, create demand for more retail west of 20th St, and spark other renewal. However, there are others who hold the Hillman building in high regard with respect to its architecture. They don't want it demolished for any reason whatever. Hammer can talk more about it, I bet. My point of raising the Hillman issue is that you (and we all do) pick and choose what you're okay with demolishing and what needs our preservation dollars. That ultimately leads to the fact that not everyone is going to be on board. N. Broad is unfortunate. If Philly's wealth didn't concentrate south of the Chinese Wall and more particularly in Rittenhouse Sq area, perhaps more of the city could have been better off. OTOH, I don't think I've been to another city in America that has so much of its old buildings preserved. As you allude to, perhaps that's because few other cities in America have as much to preserve. That doesn't diminish the facts that a) Philly has a long list of preserved buildings and in fact preserved neighborhoods and b) Philly should do everything it can to enlarge its tax base so that not only do other old buildings find active for-profit uses but also that we build great new structures that people can marvel at 200 years from now... I'd hate it that people then would wonder what the heck did folks do in Philly for so many years when their previous generations were busy building great things. Simply preserving old isn't enough (especially at public expense). Building new is required.
     
  17. eldondre

    eldondre Well-Known Member

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    so you don't support the mass demolitions on north broad?
    not so much about wealth concentrating, but that's really all that was left, most of it decamped for the suburbs. OTOH, there are many buildings that have been carved up into apartments or went lower rent. I'm familiar with the arguments for the hillman and I'm not seeing really where you're going with it. to your last statement, I used to think that way, but over time, I came to the slow realization that isn't exactly the whole truth...Philly had far more than most cities to begin with. Of course, I'm sure the notoriously hard to get anything done nature of politics here saved a few but I think, as often as not, we saved the wrong things. save some dumpy rowhouse while the hotel majestic or merchant's club is knocked down.

    while true, I'm not entirely sure there's much merit to that argument at present. It isn't like we're beating back proposals to build new to keep old. we have space for new without destroying more of the old. you keep saying preservation is at public expense, but as often as not, building new is at public expense...as is the convention center. I don't see any reason why plans couldn't have been made to incorporate the odd fellows and water revenue as hotel space. those hotels would have the advantage of being connected to the convention center. knock out the little buildings in the middle for an entrance. they knocked down banker's row for independence mall, but where is kimpton building it's new high end hotel? in an old, classy building. not everything is worth preserving but phlly certainly doesn't preserve everything. things are preserved when they need not be, and sacrificed when the political class gets on board with some fad.
     
  18. Braveheart

    Braveheart Mismember

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    Demolishing Historic Philadelphia

    Thanks for posting your Photos, they are the last record.

    Conshohocken is poised to pull down it's best Federal style house within a month
    and I'll take a few pics to post. The carriage house goes too. For another bank.
     
  19. mixiboi

    mixiboi Philly Remixed

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    That is life, it either goes by change, fire, or time...
     
  20. eldondre

    eldondre Well-Known Member

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  21. five apples

    five apples Deacon Blues

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    What an unsurprising development. The Trade Unions in this city constantly fail to get it.

    By the way, I was walking by a job site at Jefferson the other day. All of the contractors had parked their pick-ups on the sidewalk. I would say that over half of the plates were from Jersey. I am tired of this city being held back by what is essentially a suburban work force.
     
  22. O.H. Lee

    O.H. Lee Well-Known Member

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  23. Volanova

    Volanova Well-Known Member

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    This really peeves me. If I had to drive to work for a week instead of taking the train, I'd have to park in a lot or on the street like everyone else. Make them do it. Of course, I see no problem with giving them the ability to load and unload for a few minutes, but letting them get away with blocking sidewalks to park for their own convenience just irks me.

    And the complete state of denial that the leadership of these unions has is awe inspiring in its absurdity. They sit there and claim that they're not the problem, when the organizers of the shows being canceled specifically say that the unions are the problem. It's not like these claims are new, either. It'd be one thing if it were one irked customer claiming a grievance, but this happens time and again, year after year. When will the PCVB get its head out of its rear and stop using these thugs for labor?
     
  24. five apples

    five apples Deacon Blues

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    Yeah, I had to cross the street. If I had been elderly or a parent with a stroller, that would have presented a greater risk. Just so incredibly typical of that mindset.
     
  25. Volanova

    Volanova Well-Known Member

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    You know, I wonder if it's legal for them to do that, or if it simply is ignored by PPA. If it's the latter, I'd like to know who to complain to...
     
  26. eldondre

    eldondre Well-Known Member

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    also of note,
    if they don't fix the problems, it will end up being the state's largest boondoggle. the quote also highlights why fixing the business tax structure is more important than giant hospitality subsidies
     
  27. thoth

    thoth I LOOK LIKE THIS

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    Gee, imagine that...
     
  28. DCnPhilly

    DCnPhilly Well-Known Member

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    That's exactly what it is. "We own this town." The unions constantly justify their presence in the name of safety then block handicap ramps and sidewalks.
     
    fiveomar likes this.
  29. mixiboi

    mixiboi Philly Remixed

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    2017: They finally fill in that hole where the historical size building was rip down. Looks like it may be a outside seating garden area for the hotel.


    [​IMG]
     
  30. DCnPhilly

    DCnPhilly Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking it might be the hotel's restaurant until I read that the restaurant had been scrapped. Every time I walk by it I just imagine it being another ****ing Starbucks.

    Tearing down those two buildings still really burns me up (although a bit less than the other buildings that were lost). It's interesting that the entire time the state said it intended to preserve those two buildings, it had already released floor-plans that didn't only show the two lots as empty, but the gap wasn't even big enough for them to have remained.

    Nonetheless, I'm happy to see it filled, even if it's with a Starbucks. What really bums be out about the PCC is what's happened to the land north of it. EZ Park has torn down virtually everything. And although there wasn't much worth salvaging save maybe a townhouse or two and one cute apartment building, in the hands of surface parking hoarders at a cash cow location, we might be long gone before anything ever gets built there.
     
    fiveomar likes this.

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