1499 South Columbus Boulevard. Reversed South Street Bridge skyline view in the background, but the most current rendering, as far as I know.
Alright, so this proposal isn't technically dead, but it might well be Dead on Arrival. This concept for a Philadelphia Wax Museum has been floating around for at least 5 years and might have even existed since 1997. Its hard to tell if the proposal is serious or even REAL. Though the idea of a wax museum honoring great Philadelphians is not too bad, the implied execution of it seems near impossible.
At the corner of South Columbus Boulevard and Reed Street, "businessman" and "visionary" Robert Avery proposes to build a Philadelphia Wax Museum that will depict famous and important figures that are from (or once lived) in Philadelphia, 300 of them. If you parse through all the foolish gobbledygook found in their Mission Statement, you'll see that the museum is not just meant for tourists, but schoolchildren and scholars. Scholars? Anyone who calls oneself a scholar isn't going to do any research at a wax museum. What are they going to do? Measure the distance between Will Smith's eyes? The museum's wax figures is supposed to "motivate the youth to achieve". Of course, how the fuck that would be possible isn't part of the plan. The following rendering of the interior is NOT a joke, but a serious part of the proposal:
Child Museum Visitor: "Look, Mommy! I want to be just like Kevin Hart! You like cheese without the corners, in other words you'll never be a slice bitch! "
I'm not even going to be able to get into all of the ridiculous claims and outlandish shit found on the Philadelphia Wax Museum's website or Facebook page (54,000 likes? Get the fuck out of here), because that's already been discussed ad nauseum and would make this article reach the goddamn Oort Cloud. The actual plans for the proposal are goofy enough.
Philadelphia has had numerous wax museums over the years, going all the way back to the 19th Century. The most recent one was the American Wax Museum, which was located in the Bourse near Independence Hall. It stopped existing after the 1980s because it sucked. Let's face it-- all wax museums are trash. Who the fuck wants to look at facsimiles of living people standing still? Its never like meeting the real person. Usually, the figure only vaguely looks like the real person anyway.
Even the location of this proposal is stupid. Again, The Philadelphia Wax Museum is planned for the 900,549 square foot patch of shit on South Columbus Boulevard between Tasker and Reed Streets. This was the piece of land that was to be the site of Foxwoods Casino until that plan got all fucked up. The land was purchased by an unknown company headquartered at the Bally's Casino in Atlantic City in 2005 for $64,705,882, or $71 a square foot. Therefore, those that are raising money to build this museum are going to have to muster up quite a chunk of change to purchase it. On top of that, the property owes $12.9 million in property taxes, so the Wax Museum folks are going to have to foot that bill too. These facts alone are enough to declare this proposal pretty much impossible. But there's more...
The conceptual renderings for this project make no goddamn sense. They look like renderings of other buildings with the Philadelphia Wax Museum's shitty logo photoshopped on. I'm aware that they are supposed to be generalized concepts for the place, but they don't even come close to anything possible. The views and locations in the renders are totally incorrect for that part of Columbus Boulevard. Check this one out:
What's the budget for this thing? $500 Billion? In this rendering you have a goofy-shaped building surrounded by a crooked pedestrian causeway. In the background, on the right, there's a circa 2005 Philadelphia skyline. On the left side of the background, is another copy of the skyline obscured by a kind of tree that does not grow anywhere close to here. Recognize that skyline view? That's the view from the South Street Bridge! So the museum is in the middle of the Schuylkill? Idiots. Here's another one:
Was this designed by Ancient Aliens? No part of the proposed site for this mess looks like this! The plot of land the wax museum is planned for has the Pier 70 shopping center along its south side and the Comcast office on the north side. There's no corner on the water. Where the fuck is that road in the back coming from? Why couldn't any of these renders at least make a little fucking lick of sense? Think that one is silly? Take this one in:
This one comes with an IMAX Theater, so that's kind of cool, but is also located in Chicago, since that's Two Prudential Plaza in the background. Yeah, so it looks a bit like Liberty 2, but anyone who knows even a little bit about Philly knows the difference. It almost as if the folks trying to put this museum together weren't Philadelphia residents. Well, even though Robert Avery is from East Falls, the Philadelphia Wax Museum's 501(c) (3) nonprofit status check claims that the project originates from Hyattsville, Maryland. Make your own judgment.
There are so many unanswered questions about this dumbass wax museum. How the hell do they plan to raise the $60-70 million dollars for the Reed Street site, let alone get enough money to get the rest of it built? Is this a real proposal or not? Who the fuck has donated to this and are they pissed off that this will probably never happen? Why such a huge proposal? Couldn't this be started as a smaller project in one of the larger vacant storefront spaces or at the Gallery at Market East? Why a wax museum? Philadelphia history is about more than a bunch of dumbass ex-con athletes, sub-moronic celebrities, or corrupt politicians. Philadelphia is a place, its an experience, its almost about almost everything but this collection of semi-famous people. Philadelphians don't get "inspired to achieve" by a bunch of celebrities, they get inspired by PHILADELPHIA ITSELF.
When Robert Avery defended against Phillesbian's complaints about supporting Chick-Fil-A's anti-gay marriage stance, he wrote them an e-mail with a subject line stating "God is funding the Philadelphia Wax Museum". Well, Robby, I don't think God even has enough money to make this shitbag proposal happen. He told me this morning that He's pissed off at you for soliciting donations for this. Look Bob, I don't mean to shit all over your dreams here, but Philadelphia already has a history museum that will always be superior than a fancy building with a bunch of shitty wax figures inside.
Good luck, Mr. Avery. I'll be happy to be the Philadelphia Wax Museum's first patron, but make sure there's proper wheelchair access because I'll be 200,000 years old by the time enough money is raised to make it happen.
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