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Health Center No. 1 nominated for historic designation while development awaits

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The nomination argues that it’s an “architectural art piece”

A teal-colored midcentury modern health center.
Health Center No. 1 is up for historic designation.
Photos by Melissa Romero

Health Center No. 1, a midcentury modern building that dates back to 1959 and is awaiting future development, has just been nominated for historic designation.

NakedPhilly noticed the nomination form for Health Center No. 1 go up on the Philadelphia Historical Commission’s website this week. The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia sent in the nomination on July 18, 2017.

That’s a day after an RFP was issued by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) for the 55,880-square-foot building at the corner of Broad and Lombard streets. Of the building, the PIDC wrote, “The City is willing to consider proposals that incorporate or relocate the existing City uses.”

The health center was designed by Montgomery & Bishop in 1959 as one of 10 neighborhood health centers built in the city after World War II. The curvy building has long been a standout on the corner of Broad and Lombard, thanks to its teal-tiled facade—the bright colors were meant to lift the spirits of patients.

The nomination argues that the building should be added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places because it is a work of art along the Avenue of the Arts and a neighborhood landmark and the building is a tell-tale example of the midcentury modern architecture.

The nomination will first be considered by the Committee on Historic Designation, which will assess whether or not the building should be recommended for approval by the Historical Commission.

Meanwhile, the development proposals are due to the PIDC by September 22.