Yet Another Church Possibly on the Chopping Block, This Time at UPenn

In the next year or so, we could see a new retail building in the heart of University City, across the street from the Fresh Grocer. With this new development would, regrettably, come the loss of a beautiful church, a common theme we’re seeing across the city these days.

The Fortieth Street ME Church, located at 125 S. 40th St., was built in 1872 and designed by Sloan & Hutton. The building was purchased for $2M in 2007 by P&A Associates, according to the OPA, after three different congregations called it home over the previous 135 years. Thanks to HiddenCity for the history lesson.

Beautiful building. Such a shame

P&A’s new building, designed by CANNOdesign, will have about 6000 sqft of leasable space, with either three or four tenants. Legend Properties is marketing the property, which appears to be 75% leased, based on the listing. We’re guessing that a restaurant or two will end up in this building.

The final available space is 1500 sqft, is described as a Community Center and has an advertised rent of $6,250/mo. According to broker, Tammy Hovhannesian, the details of other leases are being finalized, but she said was not at liberty to provide further details.

40th St. view of the new building

But who knows for sure if any deal is really going forward? In September, HiddenCity reported that MSC properties had leased the site and demolition was slated to begin by the end of the summer. An update to the story indicated that demolition would happen by the end of the year. For what it’s worth, the community has not yet been included in the conversation about the property.

“We have not had any discussions about it,” said Barry Grossbach, Spruce Hill Community Association zoning chair. “We have no idea about any current plans for the site that might be floating out there.  Until we know what is to become of the church we have no way to get involved.  Everything right now is in the rumor stage, and that has been going on for over two years.”

We’ll be sure to update when we get some new information.

–Lou Mancinelli