Should UPenn be allowed to destroy a historic Italianate mansion in order to put up more student housing in University City? The Court of Common Pleas will decide on the fate of the historic mansion in Feburary, but why are neighbors so set on saving a former nursing home?
It may seem odd that such a strong movement has gathered around the salvation of a building which, in its current state, is somewhat less than stunning. Though the mansion at 40th and Pine was truly spectacular in its day, (and when it was placed on the National Historic Register in 1973,) alterations to make it suitable as a nursing home seem to have dimmed its glow.
Nevertheless, neighbors have seen this case through one unfavorable appeal already, and they're appealing it again. Why? The answer might have more to do with the proposed use of the lot than with any great love for decaying Italianate architecture. A residential building with 122 apartments, intended for student housing is proposed. If neighbors' reactions to the thought of student housing in West Philly (and around Temple) are any indication, student housing is usually not a well-received choice.
· 40th & Pine zoning case goes to Court of Common Pleas [Plan Philly]
· Penn to Demolish Mansion at 40th and Pine [The Daily Pennsylvanian]
· Zoning board approves variances for student housing proposal at 40th & Pine [Plan Philly]