Around town numerous old churches are for sale. These sites often represent a portal of local controversy, or at least a talking point for preservationists and those interested in seeing the buildings razed and the modern era built in its place.

And here’s another one, this time at 27th & Girard in Brewerytown. We chanced upon this listing, available for $550K from Colliers International, just the other day.

The church

According to the listing, the one-story about 4600 sqft Gothic church was constructed in 1888, and features the original pipe organ built and installed in the sanctuary in 1889. The sale includes the church (2701-09 W. Girard Ave.), the adjoining two story parish hall that boasts a two-lane basement bowling alley (yes, this is God’s work), an auditorium with an elevated stage, and a vacant lot located at 1210 N. 27th St.

Vacant lot next door

The location could represent a provocative opportunity, given that the development throughout the Fairmount neighborhood the past decade that has started to spill over onto Girard Avenue and beyond in recent years. At some point, we have to admit that it’s unreasonable and perhaps even shortsighted to believe every old church in Philadelphia can be left standing. But maybe this one can. If the interior pictures we discovered here are reflective of the current condition of the church, it looks safe, clean and usable. Missing are the rotted wood pews, and caved in ceilings we’ve seen before at other churches of this age. Perhaps then, the cost of renovating or transforming the building into a viable space, maybe for music, or a rec center (yes we know the City needs a lot of money before this could ever happen), or, dare we say, a partitioned apartment complex are workable.

The 2700 block of Girard

As it were, the calls we’ve placed to Colliers to learn if there has been any interest expressed by buyers have gone unreturned. According to public record, owners The Church Foundation, part of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania purchased the building in 1956. The number for the church we found online via connected us with a day care center located at 23rd and Thompson. And here’s a listing for the church on the Preservation Alliance site. We called Episcopal headquarters in NYC where an operator directed us to the Episcopal Church Building Fund. We’re waiting to hear back from them, too.

So… does anyone know any more information about this site and its potential for the future?

–Lou Mancinelli