The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (PCAH) is encouraging the Gray Area project to apply for a planning grant for a GA3, to promote constructive thinking and action associated with sites (buildings or land) that could be categorized as “gray area” properties. A planning grant secured in the next funding round (for which, of course, there is no guarantee) could ultimately allow one or more projects to proceed via a PCAH implementation grant and other funding.
To that end, they are seeking to identify up to six sites around Philadelphia to devise a re-use and design solution with community input that would be of value to the neighborhood/city. We are looking for a mix of neighborhoods, building typologies, and "voids, platforms and shells." More specifics appear below.
If you have any suggestions for possible sites, or if you have suggestions of organizations that might, please contact me at .
A prospective Gray Area 3 property (building or land):
Is worth saving and revitalizing;
Has great, but not yet fully realized potential to add significant value to the community in which it is located, due to its presence on or near a key street, intersection, public amenity, or community asset;
Has historical, architectural, and/or cultural significance;
Could have a “game changing” impact on its surroundings, if a great restoration, interim improvement, or adaptive reuse plan could be designed and implemented; and
Has an owner (government, a nonprofit organization or institution—or a friendly private owner) that would consider a reuse or improvement idea that involved some degree of public visibility or public access.
On the other hand, a property of this kind:
May or may not be historically certified;
May be feasible for a conventional, privately-financed restoration project—but the project hasn’t been fully defined yet;
May be feasible for financing through existing government or charitable programs—but the financing hasn’t been obtained yet.
Philadelphia already has some great examples of formerly vacant or underused properties that have emerged as centers of energy and vitality. A few examples: the Crane Arts Building, the Race Street Pier, Greensgrow Farms, Dock Street Brewing Company, and Weavers Way Coop/Chestnut Hill. But there are many more properties with the above characteristics whose potential value could be lost unless a plan of action—a plan that’s creative but also pragmatic and relevant —can be designed and executed.
We’re not just looking for properties that are deserving of restoration or improvement. We’re really trying to find a few of the much smaller number of properties that—with the implementation of a great plan—could have a lasting beneficial impact on their surroundings.
Thanks in advance for giving this some thought. I look forward to hearing from you!!