In Philadelphia, the Reading Viaduct has been an urban ruin since it was decommissioned in the 1980s. Too massive to tear down, it has blighted an already downtrodden neighborhood. But that’s no longer acceptable. The blueprint has been drawn in New York: Build it and they will come. In fact, they’re already gathering. TheTrestle Inn has joined the pioneering Institute bar, and the new Underground Arts bar is on the way. With North Broad happening to the west and the Union Transfer music venue anchoring the South, Poplar’s time is coming, and the potential is great.
The announcement in October that the Pennsylvania Ballet would create a $17.5 million dance center on North Broad Street was greeted with ovations by the city and arts community. The groundbreaking for the complex of five dance studios, school and offices marked a turnaround for a company that had been struggling and in debt two decades ago, and was another step forward for the revival of North Broad Street.
But the plans for the new ballet headquarters include the demolition of a building at 325 N. Broad that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the preservation community is not joining in the applause for the project.