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Zoning, planning & development

Get a facade review

Service overview

Along certain streets in Center City, changes to the facades and new construction trigger a facade review. This process ensures that the development suits its surroundings and adds to the pedestrian experience.

The reviewer assesses the proposal’s architectural materials, finishes, and colors. They also assess the size and placement of windows and the visibility of building entrances. The Philadelphia Code identifies portions of streets that require facade reviews. They include:

  • Broad Street.
  • Market Street.
  • Chestnut Street.
  • Walnut Street.

You can request a conceptual review in the planning stages of your project. Building permit applications may also trigger a facade review.

This process is different from the garage facade review.

When you apply for a building permit, the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) will tell you if your project needs a facade review.

Who

Applicants include:

  • Developers.
  • Architects.
  • Engineers.
  • Expediters.

Historic preservation advocates and community groups are also concerned with facade reviews.

Where and when

The Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) office is located at:

1515 Arch St.
13th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Office hours are Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments are required.

Cost

There is no charge for a conceptual facade review. When you apply for a building permit, the cost of a facade review is included in its fee.

How

Reviews can be conducted electronically through eCLIPSE or as an over-the-counter consultation with PCPC staff.

To schedule an in-person plan review, use our online appointment system. Once you’ve entered your contact information, select “Planning Commission” and choose “Urban design plan review.”

PCPC staff may require a meeting for large or complex proposals. You must bring the following materials to your review or submit them in eCLIPSE:

  • Elevations drawings showing significant dimensions and labels for materials, finishes, and colors. For renovations, distinguish between existing materials and new materials. Bring multiple paper copies for over-the-counter reviews.
  • A sheet or board that describes your construction materials. Photographs of the materials, along with the names of the manufacturers and products should be included. Or, you may bring physical material samples.
  • Photographs of the existing building or site.
  • Photographs of the adjoining buildings on either side.
  • Your building permit application.

After PCPC staff issues an approval, the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) will continue with the permitting process.


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