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Historic Dilworth House on Washington Square still seeks development

Meanwhile, the house is falling into disrepair

The historic Dilworth House awaits potential development.
Photo by Melissa Romero

The owner of the historic Dilworth House on Washington Square has been trying to market the property for potential development, but to no avail.

Owner and developer John Turchi Jr. “quietly” but “actively looking to see if there was a developer who would be willing to acquire the site and build it,” Turchi’s lawyer Philip S. Rosenzweig recently told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Mr. Turchi is committed to the project. He has no intention of relinquishing.”

The Dilworth House has stood at 225 S. Sixth Street since 1957. It was built for then-Mayor Richardson Dilworth, who moved into the home as a sign of his commitment to improve the neighborhood. But in recent years, the house and its location in a rapidly developing and pricey neighborhood has become a hot-button issue among neighbors and developers alike.

When Turchi bought the house in 2001 for $1.75 million, he originally planned to tear it down and build a 16-story, Robert Venturi-designed condo in its place. A battle between preservationists and the developer brewed for years, until 2015 when Turchi was given the green light to partially tear down the building while maintaining the facade.

But the site isn’t easy to build on—it requires six zoning overlays—, so many potential buyers have walked away from purchasing it, the Inquirer report noted. Meanwhile, the historic house has fallen into disrepair, and will continue to deterioriate until it finds a willing developer to do something with it.