• Preserving and Celebrating Joe Frazier’s Gym

    October 22, 2015

    Philadelphia has a rich boxing history, both real and fictional. One iconic structure from the city’s real life history - Joe Frazier’s Gym - is now protected from demolition and adverse alterations, and well on its way to finding a new use. In partnership with the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, City of Philadelphia, Temple University, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Heritage Consulting Group, Urban Land Institute, and Ian Smith Design, the National Trust used historic preservation tools, real estate planning, and marketing to preserve Frazier’s legacy and buy time for the future redevelopment of this national treasure. Thanks to a collaborative effort by a team of preservationists, between June 2012 and August 2015, the gym has been:

    • Designated as a Philadelphia Historic Landmark;
    • Listed in the National Register of Historic Places;
    • Assessed by the Urban Land Institute’s Technical Assistance Panel;
    • Evaluated in a feasibility study for a potential investor on the site’s redevelopment potential; and,
    • Featured at a film screening co-hosted by the National Trust and Temple University.

    Winning historic designation at the local and national level for the building Frazier owned and operated has promoted the value of diversity within this roster of our country’s most important historic resources. Designation as a Philadelphia landmark protects the gym from negative alterations and demolition, and National Register listing makes available historic tax credits on qualified rehabilitation costs. In addition, the ULI Technical Assistance Panel and feasibility study were strategic planning exercises on the gym’s potential for redevelopment. Read the full ULI report here.

    The gym stands today as a prominent reminder of Frazier’s legacy in the cultural heritage of Philadelphia and the nation, and as such, merits ongoing support and investment to honor his remarkable life. Over the coming months, the National Trust will continue supporting the Preservation Alliance and City by disseminating the results from the feasibility study with Bernard Hopkins and other preservation-friendly buyers. Thanks to a collaborative effort by national and local preservation groups, Joe Frazier’s Gym is now listed as a “success” in the National Trust’s revolving portfolio of National Treasures.

  • Bernard Hopkins Looks to Buy Joe Frazier’s Gym

    August 8, 2014

    Last week, the Metro Newspaper in Philadelphia wrote a story about Bernard Hopkins’ desire to acquire and redevelop Joe Frazier’s Gym into a community resource to build tomorrow’s diverse leaders. He said,

    "I would want to be able to make a bid for the gym, and I will request the city back me as a non-profit to make the gym not only a boxing gym but make it more of a learning center for the youth — learning how to eat, learning karate, learning self defense. It has to be something given to the community, to the youth." - See more at:http://www.metro.us/newyork/news/local/2014/07/27/bernard-hopkins-plans-buy-joe-fraziers-gym-help/#sthash.SWzueGuE.dpuf.

    This news is music to our ears. We stand ready to help Bernard Hopkins reach this important vision to return the gym back to active use as a sustainable community asset.

  • Joe Frazier's Gym Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

    April 30, 2013

    Smokin’ Joe Frazier is somewhere smiling today. His beloved gym is now listed in the nation’s national inventory of significant historic places. The naming of the building to the National Register of Historic Places builds recognition for Frazier’s legacy and it commemorates a remarkable life once lived. We’re proud of our contribution to this effort and the excellent work of our National Treasure team.

    Kudos to the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, Temple University, Heritage Consulting Group, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and National Park Service for protecting American history.

    My fingers are crossed for more good news to come. The Philadelphia Historical Commission will consider the gym for local designation on June 14th. If successful, our vision to protect Joe Frazier’s Gym, to celebrate Frazier’s life, and to make available federal historic tax credits will be achieved.

  • Introducing Joe Frazier's Gym

    July 19, 2012

    I’m Brent Leggs, the National Trust’s project manager for Joe Frazier’s Gym. I look forward to providing you frequent updates as we not only work to achieve local and national designation for Joe Frazier’s Gym, but also begin important planning for the building's future rehabilitation. This work is being done in close collaboration with the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia and Temple University’s School of Architecture.

    We've recently made some progress towards designation. Two Temple University students who were tasked with writing the local nomination submitted their final draft to the Preservation Alliance for review. Even with this step done, we are continuing to collect additional research needed to build our case for local designation. I’m also excited to share that Heritage Consulting Firm in Philadelphia has offered pro bono services to prepare the national nomination.

    Besides designation, we need to better understand the market context for the building's highest and best use. This will help us in our goal to ultimately find a preservation-friendly buyer for the structure. To get us started, Urban Partners in Philadelphia has been engaged to prepare the market study. To advance this piece of the project, we need to raise $5,000.

    Beyond that, there’s more good news to share. In June 2012, the United States Olympic Hall of Fame held a private reception in honor of Joe Frazier’s life and boxing legacy. He was the 1964 heavyweight gold medalist in Japan, winning with a broken thumb. At the end of July 2012, the documentary film, Joe Frazier: When the Smoke Clears, will be released in the United States. A British filmmaker produced it, and it is captivating to watch. It gives insights into the man Joe Frazier, his career, and the broader black experience in America, while also offering rarely seen images of the gym. Both the film and the Olympic tribute reveal the international community’s admiration for Joe Frazier.

    There is much more to come over the next few months. We look forward to attaining local designation, making Joe Frazier’s Gym a Philadelphia landmark, and listing it in the National Register of Historic Places. Once listed, Joe Frazier’s Gym will be included in our national inventory of the more than 87,000 historic places. To date, nearly 1,800 historic places listed are directly associated with African American history.

All 4 updates

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