Traces of the past on a wooden chair at the Church of the Assumption, now scheduled for demolition. Photo: Liz Spikol
Point Breeze developer Ori Feibush stirred some controversy this month when his lawyer, Wally Zimilong, sent a letter to a woman, Haley Dervinis, opposed to his latest project: four single-family homes around 20th and Annin. The letter cautioned her not to libel or slander Feibush with disparaging comments in an upcoming zoning hearing, and was, to our eyes, a fairly ridiculous cease-and-desist scare tactic. It worked–she was scared. The letter got press as a threat, and Feibush came off as a bully trying to censor her.
At the hearing, Dervinis was certainly not alone in her opposition, and now, according to Jan Ransom of the Daily News, the Zoning Board has denied Feibush’s petition to go beyond the current zoning, which is for three homes rather than four.
The Broad Street armory as seen a couple days ago.
Michael Carosella, the developer who owns the dilapidated armory on the 1200 block of South Broad, is not exactly known for preservation work. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the latest news about the armory–first built in 1886 for the Third Regiment of the National Guard–is that it’s going to be demolished.
Initially, the armory was sold with a “no demo” stipulation. But that was vacated, and by the time Carosella bought it a few days ago, his plan to demolish the building had been opposed only by neighborhood residents who felt it should be protected due to historical value–and due to the Frank Sinatra mural on its side. But that doesn’t matter now. Due to the Market Street disaster, the city wants the armory, which is in terrible shape, to be torn down quickly to avoid any collapse.
Photo: Laura Kicey
“Get out of town,” said Cole Porter. “Don’t fence me in,” he said, also. The guy had serious wanderlust, and when it’s nice out, so do we. This weekend Property photographer Laura Kicey went to the former Scranton Lace Factory for another Abandoned America photo workshop. The photographs she got are absolutely gorgeous, but she also learned a bit about what’s happening to the building–which is more than to the SS United States, the subject of her last extensive photo gallery of this sort.
Though it looks abandoned, the building–which was featured on National Geographic’s Abandoned program
–has had some recent good fortune: The current owners, Lace Building Affiliates, who purchased it in 2007, have been granted permission to repurpose it, and they have seriously grand plans.
Photo by Smallbones via Wikimedia Commons
Kenny Gamble’s attempt to demolish most of the historic Royal Theater on 15th and South, an African-American landmark, faces more than just the approval of the Philadelphia Historical Commission. It faces a state challenge that he himself put into place, according to Eyes on the Street: In 2006 Universal Companies was awarded a $50,000 Keystone [...]
Photo: Christopher Mote via Hidden City Daily
Yet another house of worship goes the way of all Philly churches: this time, it’s St. John the Evangelist at Third and Reed, which cannot withstand the power of the wrecking ball. Hidden City Daily broke the story that a developer purchased it quickly after closure to demolish it and use the land for town homes. When Naked Philly wrote about the demolition, a commenter bemoaned the church’s fate:
I had my first communion, confirmation and first wedding in this church. My family was a active member for years. I remember holiday shows, Bingos, Easter services, the Christmas Bazaar, fundraising shows that I participated in, my grandparents funerals……all of the truly important events in my life happened at this church. I wish I had known it was coming down, I would have asked to maybe take some of the glassware or stained glass windows. My father served on the alter and I was in the children’s chior. I loved this church….I am truly saddened to see it go.
Photo of Hawthorne Hall installation by Laura Kicey
The Hidden City Festival brings contemporary art and performance into forgotten and forbidden sites across the city for music lovers, urban explorers, ruin festishists, art enthusiasts, history buffs and, most especially, The Philadelphia Obsessive, that strange breed of person who gets flushed talking about the Sameric (sorry, the Boyd).
Property’s staff photographer Laura Kicey went to three Hidden City Festival sites to take photos now that the installations are in place. For some of the sites before, go to “Inside Some of Philadelphia’s Most Extraordinary Forbidden Buildings.”
Bart Blatstein's Tower Place
Later this morning the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia will bestow its annual awards on 16 restoration and revitalization projects in the region. Among the big winners are some familiar names, including Bart Blatstein’s Tower Place (formerly known as the Pennsylvania State Office Building), the Hotel Monaco (which used to be the Lafayette Building) and The Arch (also known as the Robert Morris Building).
It was a bit of a shock last year when the National Trust for Historic Preservation chose Joe Frazier’s old gym on North Broad Street for one of the coveted spots on its annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Local residents who valued Frazier’s mentoring and ceaseless community building at the gym were gratified, as were boxing fans. Though the gym didn’t have local or state preservation status–the building’s architectural worth isn’t profound–the National Trust recognized its value as a part of the country’s African-American history.
Photo by Bradley Maule via Hidden City
John Coltrane’s time in Philadelphia–featured this weekend on the radio show American Routes–was the fertile beginning of his development as a unique voice in jazz. He moved to the city as a teen from North Carolina and, along with formal lessons, was embraced by the thriving African-American jazz scene here and the many musicians who came in and out from New York. As one of the genre’s legends, Coltrane’s influence has been felt by generations, yet the properties he’s owned have had a rough time of it.
Photo by Aaron G Stock via Flickr
Fossil wanted signs that didn’t go with an Art Deco facade. Which retailer can make its signage work with the historically designated building?