Depending on who you ask, the Hale building at the corner of Juniper and Chestnut is either a unique and important part of Philadelphia's architectural history, or the worst eyesore in Center City. Though Willis G. Hale's take-no-prisoners approach to the baroque is perhaps a little unsettling, the Hale building is certainly one of the most recognizable and extravagant vacant buildings in the city. Over the years, the building has housed banks, bathhouses, and most recently, a Valu-Plus, but in recent years, the building has been all but abandoned.
The most recent official news about the Hale Building's future came on Febuary 12th, 2010, when the Philadelphia Historical Commission approved the plan presented by developer Elon Barzilay and architects JKR Partners to turn the building into a boutique hotel with a contemporary glass entrance. Since that time, the Hale Building has sat vacant.
However, there are some subtle signs that the project might come to fruition after all. A throwaway comment in a philly.com article about another hotel project last April outright stated that, "Projects that were delayed but are now back in the pipeline, according to industry experts, include...a 90-room Juniper Hotel at Juniper and Chestnut Streets." More recently, a sign went up advertising retail space for lease in the Hale building. A quick call to the realtors confirmed that, yes, the building's owners are still planning on a hotel in the Hale building, and that they are searching for a food and beverage operator to put in a restaurant on the ground floor, with the possibility to also operate on the roof.
· Current Advocacy Issues: Keystone Bank [Preservation Alliance]
· Crude, Violent & Revolting [Hidden City]
· Ground broken for a new Center City hotel [Philly.com]
· Preservation Row: A beloved building at the heart of debate [Plan Philly]