During the last building boom in Philadelphia, many proposals came down the pike but never happened. This is nothing new. Philadelphia, like many other cities, has seen countless potential projects stall and die over the years. Here’s a look at some projects that never happened, most of which never made it past the planning phases.

Centennial Tower was a proposed and designed for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition. It was to be a 1,000-foot tall steel tower which in 1876 was considered impossible. Hey, is that Cinderella’s castle in the background?

This actually got built, but was only 300 feet tall. It was moved to Coney Island after the Exhibition.

Here’s one that still could happen someday. Did you know that the Gallery Mall was designed to support skyscrapers built on top of it?. Maybe things would be different at Market East today if these things had gone up. Image from Temple University Urban Archives.

In the late 60’s, an entire block of S. Broad St. between Spruce and Locust Sts. was bulldozed for a project called the Philadelphia Playhouse, a gigantic mixed-use development. The Doubletree Hotel, Ormandy Ballroom, and Wilma Theatre hold down this spot today.

Gimbels’ Department Store had a plan in the 70’s to build a brand new stand-alone store on their plot at Market Street, which eventually turned into the infamous Disney Hole. They ended up moving into the Gallery, in the space that now houses a K-Mart. We all know how well that turned out.

Here’s an proposal for an office building in Old City that would have surrounded the Corn Exchange Bank at 2nd and Chestnut Sts. Between thirty and forty historic commercial buildings would have been demolished for this.

Here’s a 1920’s rendering for a new Baltimore and Ohio Railroad HQ at 23rd and Chestnut. Wish this one could have been built, it’s pretty cool. Anyone else reminded of Metropolis?

–GroJLart, philaphilia.blogspot.com

To be continued…