The property at 700–34 Race Street, known as “The Roundhouse,” has been nominated to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. This fall, the Philadelphia Historical Commission will review the nomination through a public process. If commissioners agree that the building meets the requirements for designation, the building will be added to the register. Once listed on the register, the property will be under the protection of the Historical Commission. Read the nomination here (PDF).
The commission will consider this request at two virtual, public meetings. First, the Committee on Historic Designation will review the nomination and hear public comment. At the second meeting, commissioners will vote on whether to add the property to the register.
- Committee on Historic Designation: Wednesday, September 6, 2023, at 9:30 a.m.
- Monthly Meeting of the Philadelphia Historical Commission: Friday, October 13, 2023, at 9:30 a.m.
The Commission’s goal is to manage change, not prevent it. Historic buildings must be adapted for evolving uses and requirements. But these adaptations must meet historic preservation standards. If the property is added to the Register, the Historical Commission gets to review any proposal to change the appearance of the building. The Commission will also review demolition proposals.
The nomination includes the building’s exterior, called the envelope. It excludes the parking lot on site. This means that the owner could make changes, including demolition, to the parking lot without Historical Commission approval. The wall that surrounds the building is included in the nomination as “non-contributing.” This means that the Commission would still review changes to it but alterations or removal of it could be approved by commission staff.
Last year, through Framing the Future of the Roundhouse we asked Philadelphians what they envisioned for the site. We learned that people want it to embrace the community in the future. They also wanted people to remember the harm caused to communities through policing. Most people agreed that the wall surrounding the building makes the site feel cut off from the neighborhood. There was also consensus to reduce the amount of asphalt covering the parking lot.
The Philadelphia Historical Commission welcomes your input and has guidelines for conduct at meetings. Comments can be submitted in two ways: by writing, and by voice. To submit comments in writing, email email@example.com with the subject, “Roundhouse nomination.” Written comments will be reviewed ahead of the meeting and added to the public record. The Historical Commission dedicates a portion of meetings to hearing from the public. During that time, a moderator will ask if anyone would like to provide comment. If you have comments, you should use the “raise hand” function in Zoom. You will be called on by the moderator, who will also unmute your microphone. You will have two minutes to speak.
The Philadelphia Historical Commission was established in 1955. It helps preserve historically significant buildings, sites, objects, interiors, and districts in Philadelphia. The Commission also maintains the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, which lists more than 25,000 properties. The Commission works with property owners to ensure the preservation of these landmarks. Find out more about how the Philadelphia Historical Commission works on its web page.