Pending City Council approval, the Philadelphia Police Department will be moving its headquarters to West Philadelphia.
Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, who represents the city ward where Penn is located, proposed that police headquarters move to the empty Provident Mutual Life Insurance Company building, located at 46th and Market streets.
Blackwell’s plan, which was proposed last Thursday, calls for borrowing up to $250 million to acquire 15 acres of property at the location to develop into the new headquarters.
Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush expressed excitement at the prospect of the relocation, noting that the Philadelphia Police has outgrown the size of its present headquarters at Eighth and Race streets. “The current police administration building has been beyond its life-span for many years,” she said.
Rush added that since the relocation would result in “a constant flow of marked and unmarked police cars” shuttling back and forth between the headquarters and other parts of the city, the move could be a contributing factor to the deterrence of crime in West Philadelphia.
“Having an increase in police visibility and presence is a positive thing in my mind, because it makes people feel safe and therefore can improve the quality of life for people in the area,” Rush explained.
The newly refurbished building would house Philadelphia Police Headquarters, as well as the Medical Examiner’s office and some city Health Department offices. This would allow the city to sell two buildings on valuable property in Center City, as well as the city morgue, located near the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
One of the Center City buildings that will be replaced is the famous “Roundhouse,” which is currently home to Philadelphia Police. The building, which was built in 1963, is known for its distinctive circular architecture. It is now severely undersized for the department’s needs.