We'd like to think we've set foot on most blocks in Center City and beyond, but recently we found ourselves on a block we'd never visited in East Kensington. As we were making our way down the 2500 block of Collins Street, we noticed some construction activity on the 2100 block of E. Firth Street. This construction is actually connected with a building that extends all the way around to 2121 E. Cumberland St., the former Grace of God Church of Deliverence.
On the building, you can see there's a sign for Red Oak Builders. So we looked them up to get the scoop on the project, since the permits for the project confused the heck out of us. According to the developers, the project is taking the church's former parish house and converting it into five new luxury homes. The project will be called the Parish House, 'natch. They're adding a set back third story, they'll be reusing some of the materials from the inside of the old building, and the divisions between the homes will correspond to the existing window columns. All the windows will be replaced, of course. Here, check out this rendering from Toner Architects.
The developers are also renovating a building next door, which is the construction that first caught our eye. In addition, they're building another home on a vacant lot on Cumberland Street. But all of this begs the question, what's happening with the former church on Cumberland Street?
Well, we don't know the answer, sadly. According to the guy from Red Oak, they've sold the former church building to other developers and aren't sure what they're planning. It's possible we could see the building reused, like the former parish house, and it's also possible it could be demolished. It's safe to say that whatever shape it takes, their plan will mean something residential. We'll keep our eyes peeled, but we suspect that whatever happens will mean numerous conversations with the community. It should be interesting to see what comes to pass.