Market East is on its way to returning to its rightful place in history as the brightly lit corridor of consumerism it once was. Bill 100720 passed the Rules Committee yesterday, which would allow various types of illuminated and digital advertising to be applied to Market East's non-historic facades, including The Gallery. Developers applying such advertisement would be required to invest $10M into the building to which the scheme is applied.
The Gallery as it is.
Eaton Centre in Toronto is a common example of what Bill 100720 is aimed at accomplishing.
Historical groups continued to pander their case that Philadelphia is a one horse town, accusing this bill of threatening Philadelphia's cultural heritage. Others continued to speculate that the primary reason people come to Philadelphia is for its history. At one point in the hearing, a man dressed as William Penn appeared, accusing Council of being paid off for their support.
Philadelphia's historic historic Market East?
More "cultural heritage"?
Market East was never charming and its mind boggling why preservationists and historians have gotten so wrapped up in this bill. There isn't a lot of physical history there, and the few antique buildings that have survived Market East's long, evolving history are exempt from Bill 100720 and will not be affected.
Luckily the counter arguments were so absurd that City Council was not swayed. Market East's primary cultural heritage lies in its place as a shopping district, not in its architecture. Tourists don't solely come to Philadelphia for our history, but for those who do, there is nothing wrong with offering them a great shopping and dining experience on their walk to Independence Mall.
City hoping for a Market rebound