As recently as June, an empty though potentially-charming church stood at 19th and Poplar Sts. Over the summer it was razed, and now a vacant lot bids hello to passersby in Francisville.

Recent past

A church no more

Construction on six homes will begin at the site as early as the end of this year, according to Penelope Giles, founder and executive director of the Francisville Neighborhood Development Corporation (FNDC).

Before construction begins however, developers will have to re-present site plans to the members of the FNDC. Though plans had been approved about a year and a half ago, the window of time that legitimizes those approvals has passed, according to Giles.

“It doesn’t seem unrealistic,” Giles said about developers coming before the association and then breaking ground in the few months remaining in the year.

According to public record, the property, located at 1900-1908 Poplar St., was sold to TBM Group Inc. last July for $586K. From 1940 to 2004, the church was home to American Methodist Episcopal Zionists. The site linked here has some internal pictures of the church, if you’re interested.

The address of TBM Group Inc. is 2036 Poplar St. A rather large home was built a few years ago at this site, at the corner of Corinthian and Poplar Sts. That property is owned by Boris and Luydmila Perelshteyn, according to the OPA.

2036 Poplar St.

Our assumption is that Perelshteyn, a realtor, is associated with the church project. His house at Corinthian and Poplar is an urban pleasure in terms of its size. We see that they were trying to do something a little creative architecturally, but we’re not sure that they didn’t miss the mark. Here’s hoping that the plans for the site at 19th and Poplar are a little different.
“Their work has been fine,” Giles said. “We have not had any major complaints.” Though, she did add, the builders might have included some slight design changes in their final structure that they did not come back to present to members of the FNDC.

One thing is certain, if developers TBM indeed plan to build six townhomes, it’s another sign gentrification in Francisville. This time, unfortunately, it’s coming at the expense of an old, attractive structure that might have been preserved.

Progress, she is a cruel mistress.

–Lou Mancinelli