Will Francisville Lose Another Church?

When we spied a 'For Sale By Owner' sign at the New Macedonia Church at 875 Corinthian Ave. this past spring, we called the number to arrange a tour to see what the property had to offer. Having redevelopment in mind, we considered the possibilities for the property, including reuse or demolition. The two story building seemed like it was in decent condition structurally, and it would have made for a fabulous apartment building with six or eight units. Alternately, the multifamily zoning would have allowed for a new construction building with up to fifteen units. Since the building isn't designated historic (as far as we know), this wouldn't have been an issue from a permitting perspective. Running the numbers though, we couldn't make either approach work with the sale price the church was seeking, so we didn't even make an offer.

The church

Just because the numbers didn't work for us doesn't mean the numbers didn't work for anyone, so it's no shock that developers bought the building in May for $775K. We don't see any permits on the property just yet, so we have no idea whether they're planning adaptive reuse or demolition and new construction. Given the market conditions though, we'd be inclined to guess that it'll be the latter, and that Francisville will lose another church. You may remember, the neighborhood lost a church at 19th & Poplar back in 2011.

New homes half a block away

The success of a new construction project nearby is what gives us some confidence that demolition could be forthcoming. You may remember, we told you about plans for three homes and a three-unit condo building on the southeast corner of Corinthian & Ogden a little over a year ago when the project was just a hole in the ground. As you can see, the project is now finished and all of the units have sold, with homes selling in the high $600K to low $700K range, and the condos trading between $280K and $370K. Considering the density permitted at the site of the church and the high price points for the condo units, we might expect a condo angle but it's impossible to know until the permits get pulled.

Meanwhile, if you're visiting Eastern State Penitentiary for Terror Behind the Walls this month, it's probably a good idea to go around the corner to check out the former New Macedonia Church. We have a feeling it won't be around by this time next year.