Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lenfest "Ground Breaking"

The official, and non-traditional, indoor groundbreaking at Lenfest Plaza took place yesterday at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts at Broad and Cherry. The $7.5M project will turn Cherry Street from Broad to 15th into a pedestrian promenade.

A Claes Oldenberg sculpture of a 53 foot tall paint brush has been commissioned for the site, just several blocks from Oldenberg's iconic clothes pin at Centre Square.

Lenfest Plaza's non-traditional groundbreaking symbolically took place on a scale model of the site rather than with shovels and hard hats.

Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest donated $2M to the project with $1M from the city. Gerry Lenfest is the philanthropist who purchased and donated the S.S. United States to the affiliated conservancy who has spent years fighting to save the historic cruise ship.

The plaza, between the restored Hamilton Building and Frank Furness's original Academy building, will face the new entrance to the Pennsylvania Convention Center and open around the same time.

With the first major investments in North Broad Street in decades, developers and residents are eagerly anticipating what impact this new life will have on a stagnant section of Center City that has struggled with its identity as its deteriorated over the past 50 years.

No comments:

Post a Comment