Skip to main content
View All Projects > The Belgravia

The Belgravia

Philadelphia, PA

Built in 1902 and designed by Fredrick Milligan and Samuel Webber, the Belgravia Hotel is a historic landmark featuring Beaux Arts architecture. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places and Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in 1982 and has a preservation easement with the Philadelphia Preservation Alliance. The building transitioned to condo ownership after it was converted to apartments. The exterior walls were determined to be unsafe per Philadelphia’s façade law inspection (PM 304.10). The exterior walls are constructed with ornate terra cotta masonry that had to be replaced in kind per the historic commission and façade easements.

In 2014 O&S was hired to restore the façade of the historic landmark, originally built in 1902. O&S performed a comprehensive building envelope condition assessment, prepared design documentation and oversaw a $3.2 million restoration and rehabilitation program to restore the building façade to its original glory.  The $3.2 million restoration project won the 2016 Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia’s Grand Jury Prize.

All the masonry walls were extensively restored including the entirety of the primary Chestnut St. terra cotta, granite, and brick masonry façade. The program included replacement of over 500 unique pieces of terra cotta that needed to be cultivated from the failing façade for exact replication through a precise modeling and molding process. The finishes of the “new” pieces of terra cotta were altered to match the original cleaned but weathered finishes using an artisan application of iron oxide colorant applied meticulously to the new pieces to simulate long term weathering. This finish technique was developed and perfected through trial and error by the specialty restoration contractor, MPG, and O&S Associates.

O&S Associates designed and oversaw the implementation of comprehensive restoration repairs of The Belgravia. The Belgravia, constructed in 1902, was designed by the respected Philadelphia architecture team of Milligan & Webber. The building has served as a hotel, a night club, offices, and now a condominium at 1811 Chestnut Street. Listed on the National and Philadelphia Register of Historic Places and with an easement from the Preservation Alliance, the building’s exterior construction represents the Beaux-Arts architecture of the early 20th century in Philadelphia.

The restoration program also included replacement of all of the windows throughout the building via a combination of a comprehensive wood window restoration program and the use of custom extruded aluminum replacement windows designed to match the exact profile and light opening of the original window assemblies, as per local preservation standards. Replacement of the windows restored them to their original aesthetic design while improving their performance to 21st century standards.

One of the most prominent aspects of the program was the preservation of the cast iron canopy at the building’s entrance. It had missing, damaged, and corroded iron elements that required replicated cast iron replacements to match the original profile. The original paint color was identified during the paint stripping process and was reproduced to complete the preservation of the canopy to its originally designed appearance.

O&S completed a comprehensive program that restored the severely damaged building exterior walls including reconstruction of significant portions of the ornate Terra-Cotta and brick masonry as well as a window replacement program that included the installation of custom wood and aluminum windows. All of the repairs were completed with approvals from the Philadelphia Historic Commission and the Philadelphia Preservation Alliance. The project was awarded the Philadelphia Preservation Alliance Grand Jury Award for restoration at their award ceremonies in 2016.

Project Contact:

Gina Donovan, Director
First Service Residential