Originally Posted by Groundhog
Especially in a city like Philadelphia, where there is lots of real history, I think there needs to be a separate classification that is less stringent and easier to set up than the "historic" classification. Historic classification should require something to be completely saved, while a lesser designation, say, "archetype architecture" would require some restoration/elements of a building to remain in place, but would generally allow for significant alterations to a property with fewer (although still some) hoops to jump through for developers.
I fully agree with you about the need for more type of historic listing. An example of a less stringent regulation would be on a block like jewelers row you couldn't change the brick openings in the buildings street face, but you could put any type of window you wanted in that opening. That way the guts, the bones of the basic structure would be in tack, but the other stuff that's relative easy to change, could change. The devil would be in the details, as always.
One problem is the City's Historic Commission is very, very small, has almost no budget, and is generally poorly run by well meaning folk. They don't want any more listings or historic districts or blocks. There's almost no policing of the listings the City already has.
All that being said, this proposal remains a big stinking turd. Other then the sad interaction with the rest of the block, and the fact that it looks like the retail spaces are right out of a strip mall (and not designed around having upper floor workshops and other jeweler related space) the tower will just sit there not knowing what it wants to be. But I imagine with the slick sales campaign that Toll runs, this will be a successful project. Boring and successful, probably just what Toll wants.