Forget LED, Historical Commission Says PSFS Building Must Keep Its Neon Sign
The same day the Historical Commission’s Architecture Committee gave Eimer Architecture and Pearl Properties the thumbs down for their plans at the Boyd Theatre site, another iconic property owner was on the losing end of a request to do some building tweaking of their own.
Tuesday saw a Loews Hotel spokesperson present their case for replacing the neon sign atop the Loews Philadelphia Hotel (i.e. the PSFS Building) with LED lights, stating that the old sign “has become too costly and burdensome to maintain.” The Inquirer’s Maria Panaritis reports the committee “voted unanimously against the idea,” citing its historical significance and its repair viability as reasons to keep it:
The 27-foot sign, atop the skyline since its installation in 1932 by the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society, the committee argued, is a historic artifact that can, and should, be fixed.
“The standards are very clear that it’s better to repair than replace,” said committee member Suzanne Pentz.
“The neon is its own artifact,” preservation planner Randal Baron said.
That being said, the neon letters are not totally in the clear. According to Panaritis, both Loews’ LED lights proposal and Pearl’s Boyd plans are slated for a June 12th presentation before the full commission. “Property owners can appeal adverse decisions to the Department of Licenses and Inspections Review Board,” she writes.
Oh, man. Could you imagine if we had to relive another poignant PNB sign-esque goodbye?
Loews asks permission to replace iconic Neon PSFS sign with LED lights. Committee of Philly Historical Commission unanimously says “no.”
— Maria Panaritis (@panaritism) May 26, 2015