Many old buildings have already been torn down to make way for the Convention Center expansion. So what does it matter if two more history-filled buildings face the wrecking ball?
Well, it matters to many residents and tourists who admire the history and architecture that help to distinguish Philadelphia. But apparently it doesn't matter to the folks at the Convention Center who want to level two classic North Broad Street facades.
Initially, the two building fronts next to the 1920s-era skyscraper on the corner of Broad and Arch streets - which will remain - were to be saved to retain a slice of the block's historic character.
The plan was to incorporate the structures into the expanded center as a way to break up the center's two-block-long facade. What's more, because these buildings would be reused, preservationists agreed to level everything else across two blocks.
Indeed, Convention Center officials agreed to save the buildings in 2004. Now, they want to go back on their word. Center officials point to a recent report from city inspectors that declared the buildings were unsafe and could not be saved.
But that's flat wrong, according to experts at the Preservation Alliance. The alliance last week urged state officials to do the right thing and stand behind the initial preservation plan.
Even if the center's expansion takes shape as originally planned, it runs the risk of turning a key stretch of Broad Street into a lifeless expanse of cold concrete. If anything, adding a restaurant to the Broad and Race streets corner should be on the drawing board - not a plan to demolish two facades that could lend a little charm to what, after all, is a big boring box.