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City of Philadelphia

Designation Process

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Philadelphia Historical Commission
One Parkway, 13th floor
1515 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The following describes the entire Designation process in order:
Anyone may nominate a building, structure, site, object or district to the Philadelphia Register. The nomination includes basic information, such as the location, type, condition, ownership and use of the property, photographs and two essays. The first essay describes the physical appearance of the property that enables the reader to form a mental image of the nominated resource. The second demonstrates the significance of the nominated resource and its meeting one or more of the criteria for listing on the Philadelphia Register. A district nomination also contains photographs, a descriptive inventory of every property in the district, and a map.

Download the nomination form here.
The staff will review the nomination for completeness and accuracy and will work with the author to assure the presentation of a strong, convincing statement of significance. The staff will also provide notice to owners as required by the Historic Preservation Ordinance.
Committee on Historic Designation
The Committee on Historic Designation, a technical advisory committee of the Commission, will hold a public meeting to consider the nomination and to determine if the property meets one or more of the criteria set forth in the Historic Preservation Ordinance.
Preliminary Assessment
For historic districts, the Committee on Historic Designation and the staff work with local community and historic preservation organizations, undertake a preliminary assessment of the proposed district’s significance, and conduct a survey to define its boundaries. The Committee will then review the nomination at a public meeting and agree upon a recommendation to the Commission.
Nomination and Recommendation
At its next monthly meeting, the Historical Commission will receive the nomination and the recommendation of the Committee and will hear public testimony on it. It will then vote whether to list the property on the Philadelphia Register.
Public Meetings
For historic districts, the Commission will hold several public meetings, including one in the evening in the neighborhood, to receive testimony. Interested persons may also present written comments to the Commission. After this series of meetings, the Commission will act on the nomination.