Historic preservation of Washington Square West stokes fierce debate

Is it a good idea for entire Philly neighborhoods to be designated as “historic” to keep architecturally and culturally significant buildings from being demolished, as so many have been over the years?

Or does the designation go too far — burdening homeowners with new costs, stunting development, raising rents and home prices, and pushing out low- and middle-income residents?

That long-running debate was at the fore once again Wednesday when an advisory group, the Committee on Historic Designation, discussed whether to recommend the Washington Square West neighborhood in Center City for historic designation. 

The group ultimately endorsed the proposal and sent it on to the Historical Commission for further discussion and possible approval.

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