Headlines: Plans for Hale Building Include Offices, Restaurants

Plus: Inside the upcoming condos at Two Liberty and more!

The Hale Building | Google Street View

The Hale Building | Google Street View

Walk by the Hale Building on Chestnut and Juniper street and you’ll immediately recognize the building, even if you don’t know it by name. For many, especially those new to Philadelphia, it’s the decaying architectural contradiction wrapped in construction netting for safety purposes. The logical series of questions flow as follows: What is it? What was it? What the hell happened to it?

For those of you concerned about its future, news broke this weekend that plans are in motion to revive what has been called “Chestnut Street’s hideous yet heartbreaking ogre” into creative office space. As Jacob Adelman of The Inquirer reportsthose plans come from a familiar name:

Brickstone, whose restoration credits include the former John Wanamaker and Lit Bros. department stores on Market Street, plans to renovate the seven-story building at 1326 Chestnut and revamp its upper floors into offices for advertising firms or other creative users, managing partner John Connors said. The ground floor will be divided between two restaurants, he said.

Chemical magnate William Weightman commissioned Willis G. Hale to design the building in the late 1800’s. It was completed in 1887 and vehemently panned by architectural critics soon thereafter. As GroJLart of Philaphilia put it, “This [building] was the Symphony House of its time, reviled by architecture critics to the point of being showcased as an example of what not to build.”

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Cool Construction Find:

Naked Philly has a quick update about the Block23 project at 23rd and Bainbridge, where construction crews found something quite interesting:

According to the developer, this hole goes down about fifty feet. It’s an old cistern, and apparently similar cisterns are scattered all over town. This thing was apparently dug to help with stormwater management, something we still contend with today. A hundred years ago, water flowed into cisterns and when it reached the bottom where the bricks are laid without mortar, it was absorbed into the ground at a depth that didn’t threaten surrounding buildings. A pretty cool thing to find on a construction site, and we can only be thankful that nobody accidentally fell into the hole before it was discovered.

Check the pics in the link below.

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