Thursday, August 23, 2012

Butt-Fugly Building of the Week-- August 23rd

Sonesta Hotel Philadelphia

1800 Market Street

                   Yay, a big dirty concrete wall on Market Street. Its looks like they built a huge parking garage by accident and converted the top into a hotel. Wait a minute... this is a hotel? This thing makes the Doubletree look like the Hotel Walton! What an ugly pile of shit.
                  As far as history goes, the site of this building isn't all that special. It once held the Fuller Bread and Cracker factory, which had its main entrance on the 18th and Ludlow corner of the site with a small entrance facing Market Street that was probably better looking than this ass-rectangle.

18th Street side, 1899. Image from the PAB.
                     This shitty concrete box of assfucks was built in 1972 as the Holiday Inn Penn Center. When it first opened, it featured 250 rooms, a swimming pool, three restaurants, and a movie theater, all sitting on top of a gigantic 600-car parking garage. 250 rooms, 600 car parking garage. I'm no math genius but it looks like the parking garage was built to be the money-maker here.
                   Wait a minute... movie theater? There sure as shit isn't a movie theater there now... I wonder what happened to it? The hotel later became the 4-star Holiday Inn Select Center City, then, more recently, a Crowne Plaza. This last year, Sonesta Hotels took over, did some renovations, and re-opened as the Sonesta Hotel Philadelphia on June 18th.
                   As sure as I am that the inside of the building must be pretty nice, the outside looks worse than ever. The concrete is browned-up and disgusting. The rest of the building is in the suburban office park style. What a pile of junk. I can't find any sources indicating who the architect was, but that person should be ashamed. I know it was 1972, but that's no fucking excuse. Hotels are supposed to be impressive-- not crap!! This is probably the worst-looking hotel in the city's history.
                 There's not much else to say about this piece of dung. A 280-foot turd. You know you're a shitty building when the single-story Jetson's-looking restaurant/ballroom space on top of the parking garage is the most interesting piece of your structure. This thing sucks.



  1. I work across from it, and my office window looks into their crapass pool. I hatestare at the people in it, both because they're outside enjoying themselves and because they picked the shittiest hotel building in the stupidest location imaginable. Welcome to Hotel Parking Garage in OfficeCanyon, dickheads: enjoy your stupid pool.

  2. Movie theater was converted in the late 80s to conference space. Gone by '86 or so.

  3. I saw movies in the movie theater, the Eric Mark I and wrote about it for the Introduction here. The last that I heard was that the auditorium was still down there. I wish someone would come forth with photos of the Market St entry.

  4. Movie theater closed 1989 as stated in the link that I provided.

  5. And it keeps getting worse. The new sign for Sonesta is really awful. I can appreciate minimalism, but that sign is just lazy and terrible.

  6. There are few things to salvage here. Elephant & Castle is a really bad restaurant too, even by hotel restaurant standards.