Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Other Divine Lorraine

At one point Shift Capital had hoped to renovate the beleaguered Beury Building on North Broad Street. If you don't know it, it's the other Divine Lorraine. 

At the corner of Broad and Erie, the Beury Building wasn't just abandoned glory, it is significant architecture at a key intersection of two major arteries desperate for life.

Unfortunately, as Philadelphia Magazine pointed out, it is up for sheriff's sale, meaning it will go to anyone with the funds to buy a derelict building in one of the worst parts of town. 

Meaning strip mall at best, surface lot at worst.

Abandoned buildings do very little for their neighbors. But the ones that scrape the sky are more than empty buildings. They're beacons of hope. They signal what their neighborhood once was and could be again.

Like the Divine Lorraine, the Beury Building is an important cog in North Broad's renaissance. The best hope for North Broad isn't blind profit, it's smart planning. Like Tower Place at Spring Garden, the Divine Lorraine may soon invigorate life at Girard, and the Beury Building could do the same.

These projects have and will show that success is not merely present in development but also preservation. Even in their current states, the Beury Building and the Divine Lorraine are sources of pride in struggling neighborhoods. Losing them to suburban grocery stores or worse will only make the rebirth of North Broad Street that much more difficult, solidifying their neighbors' dignity as being worth no more than a strip mall.

1 comment:

  1. The thing about the Beury and North Broad from about Lehigh to Erie in general is that it's really probably the only part of North Philly that isn't being encroached upon by Temple (minus the health campus) or Center City. Even Strawberry Mansion is being encroached upon by Brewerytown and eventually by Fairmount Park and East Falls. The Beury represents an opportunity to revitalize North Philly as opposed to somewhere that's an extension of somewhere else, and do it because it's a great location on its own being a major transportation nexus. Even if Temple buys that building and converts it to something for its health campus, it would still be North Philly being revitalized and wouldn't signal anything else.

    So I completely agree with you. To not restore that building to its former glory is spitting in the face of the people who live there.