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Oliver H. Bair Funeral home to be demolished

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The Historical Commission approved a financial hardship petition

The last vacant lot in Rittenhouse Square will demolish the Oliver H. Bair Funeral Home (background) to make way for a 47-story tower.
Photo by Melissa Romero

After more than a year of will it or won’t it, the historic Oliver H. Bair Funeral Home in Rittenhouse Square will officially be demolished to make way for a 47-story, mixed-use residential tower.

PlanPhilly reports that the Philadelphia Historical Commission voted to approve Southern Land Company’s petition for financial hardship at last Friday’s meeting, giving the developer leeway to raze the building due to its deteriorating state.

The demolition of the historic building will make way for 1911 Walnut, a 47-story mixed-use residential tower designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz Architecture. Although previous renderings showed that the facade of the funeral home would be preserved, Timothy Downey of Southern Land Co. said that the whole two-story, brick building is beyond repair.

“I’ve learned that I need to be a lot more careful what I promise in the future,” said Downey. “I’m going to do that, I’m going to keep my promise. It’s just never-ended, how much more and more it’s costing to save that [the Warwick Apartments].”

Two other buildings, Rittenhouse Coffee Shop and the aforementioned Warwick Apartments will be saved from demolition. They will be converted into affordable housing units in partnership with Project Home.

1911 Walnut

1911 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103 Visit Website