Good luck buying in Philadelphia’s Society Hill, where owners covet their IM Pei-designed properties

Bingham Court in Philadelphia was built in the 1960s as part of an urban rehabilitation plan to bring residents back to the heart of the city, and to Society Hill in particular. Now you can hardly attract them. The owners there are so committed to their community that properties are rarely on the market.

The complex of 27 townhouses stands out from other structures in the neighborhood, which were largely built before 1850. There is little that was built between the two or much later. Bingham Court is one of three local projects by architect IM Pei, whose major works include the National Gallery East Building in Washington and the Kennedy Library in Boston. Its Society Hill towers — a condo community built in 1964 that includes a shopping center — are the tallest structures in the area at 30 stories. He also built a development of adjacent townhouses. Its Bingham Court development retains the scale – and a similar red-brick exterior – of Ben Franklin’s town while offering mid-century modern amenities and amenities. This successful effort to revive Society Hill, located about three blocks from Independence Hall and near historic Old St. Joseph’s Church, was led by Edmund Bacon, executive director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. He has been called the father of modern Philadelphia (and is the father of actor Kevin Bacon).

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