Last Friday, July 10th, ESI Principal and Vice President Dr. Peter Angelides testified on behalf of Dranoff Properties in a successful effort to gain permission from the Philadelphia Historical Commission to demolish The Royal Theater.

The Royal, a performance and film theater located at 1524 South St. (between 15th and 16th) that has been vacant since 1970, was claimed for demolition under designation of financial hardship. This status was granted as the building, in its current state of disrepair, is unfit for redevelopment into any of seven examined alternatives, including retail space, a movie theater, or a live performance venue. This label was expected, as the building was shown to require more than just a facelift, suffering from water damage, partial fire damage, and invasive vegetation on the interior.

Additionally, because The Royal was built to cater to such specific entertainment-focused needs, ESI determined that its re-purpose for non-commercial (from its current state) use would be insensible. The adaptation and cleanup costs, further hindered by code (and feasibility) limitations, just couldn’t yield enough potential needed to justify renovation.

Instead, Dranoff plans to demolish the current structure and build a mixed-use building offering ground-floor retail topped by a planned 22 residential units. Dranoff’s new property is expected to enhance the area’s value by bringing in new residents and attractive retail space. ESI will keep an eye on Dranoff’s progress and is excited to see the result bring new growth to a location that’s seen nothing but ivy and mold for quite some time.

To view the powerpoint Angelides presented, click here: Financial Hardship__Angelides Testimony


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