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19-story overlay project planned behind historic Society Hill buildings

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The plan includes demolishing part of the existing historic buildings

Initial plans for the tower
Cecil Baker and Partners, via Phila.gov

A new plan for a residential tower in Society Hill would include the partial demolition of two historic Walnut Street structures.

The proposal, which is going in front of the Historical Commission’ architecture committee for review next week, focuses on a set of three connected historic buildings between 222 and 230 Walnut Street, which were built between 1856 and 1950 and have most recently been used as the offices of Nelson Architects.

The existing three buildings
via Googlemaps

It includes demolishing the southern portion of two of the buildings in order to construct a 19-story tower with 18 residences total, according to plans published on the Historical Comission’s website. The existing structure, which faces Walnut Street and will be left in tact, would be renovated to include entrances and amenity space as well as additional townhouse units. The project is being headed up by 230 Walnut Development and Philly-based Cecil Baker & Partners.

Plans for the tower include one 5,000-square-foot unit per floor between floors three and 16, and a single 8,000-square-foot penthouse on the 17th and 18th floors. Also included in the plans are a garden between the development and Thomas Paine Place, underground parking, and a rooftop terrace.

The Historical Commission Staff is recommending that the architecture committee deny the project, saying that the massing and size of the tower isn’t compatible with surrounding buildings in the historic Society Hill district. They added that an addition extending just a few stories above the height of the existing building would work, but that a 19-story tower doesn’t.