The above is from from the mock funeral for the Pennsylvania Life Insurance Company (PLICO) Buildings on North Broad St. organized by the Design Advocacy Group and the Preservation Alliance held today between 12-1. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, well wishers placed flowers and condolence cards at the fenced-in site of the two buildings being demolished by the Pennsylvania Department of General Services (DGS).
The DGS, on shadowy orders, gutted the power of its sister agency, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and flaunted a 2004 agreement between the Convention Center Authority and the the PHMC to preserve the PLICO complex in exchange for the demolition of the Philadelphia Historical Register-listed Race Street Firhouse and 19 other buildings.
Lawyers for the Convention Authority claim not to know what the other bureaucratic hand is doing and have argued that the Authority is just a measly authority and it is actually the DGS that has any power to contract demolitions, hire workers, and construct the new center. Oh, and as for the agreement between the Convention Center Authority and the PHMC and other preservation groups, the DGS didn’t sign that. Oh, and it wasn’t an agreement–it was just a “statement of intent.”
I have all the faith in the world that the state will preserve the gargoyles from the Race Street Firehouse.