From an architectural perspective, it's almost always a shame to see a church get demolished. Since many churches in Philadelphia date back over a century, there are a number that provide a direct connection to a community's history. Additionally, these grand buildings add to the architectural diversity in different neighborhoods, especially those dominated by row homes. On the other side of the spectrum, there are churches that have taken over buildings that were originally built for some other purpose, and don't really create the same dynamic. The former Revelation Baptist Church at 3937 Haverford Ave. fits into that latter category.
According to some historic maps, this building was a club in the middle of the 20th century, and all we know for sure is that it became home to a church at some point more than ten years ago. We can also tell you that its days as a house of God are at an end, as it's now in the process of getting demolished.
Though public record doesn't show it yet, developers have indeed purchased the former church along with the vacant lots next door. According to the permits, they're planning a four-story building with 33-units and 11 bike parking spaces. The project is totally by-right, and gets a density bonus thanks to the inclusion of a green roof. Though this is a little far to the north, we have to imagine the project will target Penn and Drexel students, with proximity to Lancaster Avenue as a major selling point.
This is the second Haverford Avenue project we've covered in the last week or so, and these projects join a handful of others that have sprung up in recent years. We wonder whether this increased activity on Haverford Avenue means that developers will look to build additional projects deeper into Mantua in the coming years. There's certainly no shortage of vacant land in the neighborhood, though zoning changes, should they move forward, might make this kind of by-right development much more challenging in the future.