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Discussion in 'Center City' started by eldondre, Dec 31, 2008.
To open at the new location this spring.
I. Goldberg to Remain on Chestnut Street | PhillyMag.com
They moving closer to there original spot of 9th and Chestnut.
Jeffs demo of that block still upsets me because they haven't build anything but a garage that could have easily been fit in the back of the lot.
Cool, now they can renovate the old W&S to match the lobby....
The 2016 historic designation has been overturned by the L&I Review Board. Does that board have legal standing to overturn a historic designation? Probably not. But they did it.
Historic designation lost for PREIT-owned Robinson building in Market East | Philly.com
Here's the original nomination: http://www.phila.gov/historical/Documents/Robinson Store.1020-1024 Market St.PRHP Nomination.pdf
Historic preservation group appeals city panel ruling on former Robinson store in Market East | Philly.com
The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia is appealing a city government panel’s ruling against historical protections for the former Robinson store building at 1020 Market St. in Center City’s Market East area.
In a filing late last week with Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, Preservation Alliance attorney Henry Schirmer alleged that the Board of License and Inspection Review was acting outside its jurisdiction when it ruled in November against maintaining the building’s historic designation.
The city’s Historical Commission put the building on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Properties in July 2016 in response to a nomination by the Preservation Alliance.
The building’s owners, mall landlords Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust and Macerich, appealed the designation the following month, but the venture later came to an agreement with city officials to have the case heard by the L&I review board instead.
That board voted last month to sustain the appeal by the building’s owners, who are also in the process of redeveloping the Gallery at Market East shopping mall across the street into what’s being called Fashion District Philadelphia.
The owners have argued that they need the ability to raze the structure and adjoining ones to attract tenants to the site.
The way the original appeal was handled is totally in conflict with Philadelphia city ordinances. The City and the PREIT/Macerich joint venture last spring agreed to have the appeal of the historic designation heard de novo by the L&I Review Board, rather than proceed to court, and in the same agreement both parties waived rights to any further appeal. There is no provision in the City Code for the L&I Review board to consider an historic designation, as it is beyond their area of expertise. What's more, they decided to annul the designation on the basis of financial hardship, which is not something that is even allowed to be considered in designating a property, as per the criteria for designation in the City Code. The Historical Commission has its own separate process for hearing hardship cases, but that process can only be invoked after the property is designated.
It is more than a little ironic that PREIT, a shopping mall operator, wants the option to demolish a facade the represents probably the only Philadelphia work by retail architects Victor Gruen and Elsie Krummeck (they were a couple), when Gruen is widely credited as the father of the shopping mall. This facade could easily be cleaned up and restored to look as fabulous as it was originally and integrated into a larger project.
Is the Preservation Alliance actually in favor of preserving the Robinson building? Or is this more about calling the city's bull shit and ensuring that due process is followed on future preservation concerns moving forward? Frankly, this building - even if perfectly restored to it's original glory - would be a blight on the streetscape and certainly diminishes property value of anything adjacent.
Both. They submitted the original nomination.
Modern day opinions are sharply divided on the aesthetic merits of the Robinson facade; that was not the case when it was built. A little polishing and buffing and the addition of appropriate signage might change your view. The primary surface is made up of small glass tiles, I believe in a purplish color.
I must say I never liked the building, but your photograph does show how interesting and innovative it was - I especially like the open ground level.
"Clad entirely in a curtain-like field of purple glass mosaic tesserae"
"Other features were entirely new for the chain and for the architects. For example, the Philadelphia store was their first to feature glass mosaic cladding; 818,900 individual one-inch glass tesserae manufactured by the renowned Judson Studios of Los Angeles covered the entire facade, from the ceiling of the arcade to the lip of the fifth-floor cornice."
http://www.phila.gov/historical/Documents/Robinson Store.1020-1024 Market St.PRHP Nomination.pdf
I've never been able to find a color photo of it in its original glory, but I'm in the bucket of people who love this building.
It's ready-built for a discount department store like Off Fifth, HomeGoods, or TJMaxx. They wouldn't need windows upstairs. It would have made a cool theater if there weren't one already being built in the Gallery. If it were cleaned up, I think people would have a different opinion about it. Unfortunately, it stands out amongst a dumpy block, and I think all of that gets lumped in with it.
Sadly I don't think it'll make it. The fact that Market East is finally rebounding is so shocking, I don't think City Hall wants to risk anything standing in its way. But who knows. There's currently no reason to tear it down unless someone's ready to build another East Market style superblock. It could hang around long enough for it to be appreciated.
If this building was left in the middle of a remodeled block (which is coming eventually) it would truly stand out and could probably shine. The front of the building could make a great spot to project a store logo and other imaging. The unique shape cold even be recreated with materials that allow for projection from the outside, and allow the floors to get light as well as a view outside.
But how functional is a 5 story facade with no real window openings?
Depends on what you think you need windows for. FWIW, the rear of the building still has windows.
On Market East, an unusual fight in old battle pitting preservation against progress | PlanPhilly.com
“This site is a key to any renaissance of East Market Street, and the City believes that the public’s interest in redevelopment there significantly outweighs the public’s interest in the preservation of the façade,” wrote Anne Fadullon, the city’s director of planning and development, explaining the city’s decision in a letter written in December to Paul Steinke, Executive Director of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, which sponsored the nomination to designate the building as historic.
In other words, any would-be development on that site, for which there is no public plan, is more important than the building’s historic value.
It’s hard to recall when a city official with direct oversight over preservation matters has so nakedly expressed such a pro-development position influencing a preservation question.
It’s particularly odd that the city agreed to this process because the Law Department advised in 2016 that the L&I Review Board isn’t the appropriate venue for designation appeals. Court is, and that's affirmed by well-known case law. And in a practical sense, L&I Review Board members don’t have the same expertise as Historical Commission members who evaluate designations.
City spokesman Paul Chrystie said remanding the case to the L&I Review Board allowed for more time for the city and developers to negotiate. “The City was hoping that a way to preserve the façade as part of a new development could be found, and is disappointed that those discussions were unsuccessful.”
That both parties waived rights to further appeal makes me seriously doubt the truthiness of Chrystie's statement.
Market East has always been retail and that's what's returning. Department stores don't really need windows on the upper floors.
But then you have people who think nothing post-Colonial is worthy of designation. I hardly know where to begin in countering viewpoints such as the below from the Skyscraper page forum:
SkyscraperPage Forum - View Single Post - PHILADELPHIA | Highrise Development Thread IX
Wow - that's almost painful to read.
Seems like mixed use is what is returning.
That quote from the skyscraper page... wow.
"anything that is historical has already been designated" This is widely known to be false. One of the biggest problems we have in this city is that so few of the important older buildings that give the city its identity are protected.
"anything that is historical has already been designated" That would mean nothing in the past ten years would be considered historical in their opinion.