Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia's latest Endangered Properties List hits home with its focus on buildings distinguished more by their association with events, activities, and people than by their architectural details.
Some of the list's targets, like Southwest Center City's Royal Theater, have a physical presence that matches their cultural significance. But others, like John Coltrane's house in Strawberry Mansion or Joe Frazier's Gym on North Broad Street, blend all-too-easily into a larger landscape dilapidated homes and storefronts. Check out Philly Buildings that Deserve Saving for Community's Sake for the complete list.
The Community Design Collaborative worked with the owners of two of the buildings on this list-- the New Frankford Y and the Chinatown Cultural and Community Center-- to calculate what it would take to revive them and the organizations who owned them.
Both projects illustrated the dilemma facing venerable nonprofits in the throes of rethinking their missions and programming: they lack the funding to maintain or improve these heritage buildings, which prevents them from generating new activity and revenue.