PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hundreds of thousands of people walk through its doors every year, but often don’t pay attention to the Philadelphia Bourse history. The new owners gave Eyewitness News reporter David Spunt an exclusive tour of their $50 million renovation plans to bring the 1890s to 2017.
Outside, the Bourse building in Old City is a beautiful piece of 19th century architecture. Inside, it’s a shell of the souvenir palace it has been for the past 35 years. The new owners are ready for a change.
Charley McGrath is the managing director with MRP Realty. He’s overseeing the $50 million renovation top to bottom.
“We really wanted to understand what was below the tile so we took up a small area and this is what we found,” McGrath told Eyewitness News.
Say goodbye to the 1980s brown tile and hello to the 1890s mosaic tile. McGrath and his colleagues discovered the brass number “26” on the floor as part 1890s tile. It’s the original number for a vendor inside the commodities exchange.
“Our goal is returning it to what it was,” McGrath said of the building, which served as a commodities exchange for decades.
The renderings call for upscale food and drink vendors. Specialty stores will also be featured. The Bourse opened in 1895 and the building’s long story is often overlooked by tourists.
“I try to point it out to my tour groups, but they’re more interested in getting pizza then looking at architecture,” historian Bob Skiba told Eyewitness News.
MRP Realty is renovating the entire building. Upstairs will feature office space for tenants.
“The thing that really gets me excited is that we’re going to return it to exactly what it was, it’s just at another chapter in Philadelphia’s story,” McGrath said.
That story will begin next spring when the renovation is complete. The building will be open to the public during the construction phase.