The Pennsylvania Convention Center boxes Chinatown in on the west. As of now it just takes up the blocks between 11th and 12th Streets but plans for expansion are in the works.
Nothing is final and opposition is growing.
What made the convention center possible in the first place was the relocation of the Reading Rail lines. They were placed in a four track tunnel running parallel to Market St. and the old viaduct was torn down in this area opening it up for the first time in 140 years. Then they went and walled it off again. Most of the viaduct remains terminating on the northern side of Vine St. here.
The southern expanse of the convention center sits atop the Reading Terminal Market and IMO is actually pretty nice and for the level of activity it generates any minor mistakes can be forgiven . . . at least here on the 12th Street side.
Even Ben Franklin shops there. On a serious note, whoever this guy is has to make a serious effort to maintain that girth. He walks everywhere and I’m not sure how many days a week he works but I’ve seen him out and about every day of the week. It must be a good living.
Looking at it from the 11th St. side is something different entirely
Convention Center expansion plans have it crossing 12th St. and taking up the blocks between Race and Arch from 12th to Broad St. Where it crosses a numbered street you have an effect like this
Here it is crossing Arch St.
When it doesn’t cross the street you get this – death. Of course almost all those windows at street level have adjacent doors for retail establishments there are currently no takers. When the street has concrete hat on it the chances for retail will be even fewer.
Of course it could be worse, it could look like this . . .
. . . or this
Rest assured that this parking lot or garage will never be touched to make way for anything.
This new hotel across the street will be spared as well.
Rather, it’s these buildings that will fall to the wrecking ball.
In their place this . . .
taking up 3 blocks from 11th to Broad (14th) . . .
. . . that is supposed to “fit in” with its neighbors on the other side of Arch St.
of course, the area isn’t all historic buildings. There’s plenty of parking lots as well but why not restore the area to its latter day density and activity. The demand is there. The uncertainty over future plans has dampened development in the immediate area but two blocks to the north people are starting to call the old industrial Callowhill neighborhood “the Loft District.”
The proximity to downtown is, well, it is downtown. The Mellon Bank building peaking through there is on 18th St. on the western edge of the financial district.
Liberty Place at 16th & Market
The Market St. side of the convention center complex is by far the most inviting with the restored Reading Terminal building as the anchor.
This 80’s POS leaves a bit to be desired.
Billy Penn must be looking somewhere else because the sun could be setting on this neighborhood for a long time to come.
The parting shot - what the expansion might look like on Broad looking south towards City Hall.