30th Street Main Post Office

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Award Type: Honor Award

In the 1930s, Art Deco was king, and Philadelphia’s flourishing commercial district was anchored by the Art Deco 30th Street Station and the Main Post Office. Unfortunately, the Great Depression and World War II dampened the area’s prosperity. Though 30th Street Station continued to serve as a transportation hub, the 30th Street Main Post Office slipped into obsolescence as the turn of the century approached, and was finally left vacant in 2006.

However, Philadelphia wasn’t ready to see its vision of a thriving urban center die. A team of private developers, government agencies, and architects embarked on one of the largest tax credit projects in the state’s history. The massive facility was transformed into a modern office building. The $252 million project reversed 70 years of exterior deterioration and restored the original bronze windows earning the building a certification of LEED Gold in the process.

The post office has served as the linchpin of a major redevelopment effort, and the addition of 5,000 employees has already increased vitality in the area. Thanks to the newly restored 30th Street Main Post Office, that decades-old dream of a thriving urban commercial district is finally being realized.         

“While each is unique, this year’s outstanding Honor Award winners all reflect the importance of protecting what is special and irreplaceable,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  “Whether it’s the restoration of an iconic post office in Philadelphia or the transformation of a Greyhound bus station into a Civil Rights museum in Montgomery, this year’s Honor Award winners demonstrate how saving places is bolstering local economies and creating jobs in communities across the country.”