Last month, we checked in on Sanctuary Lofts, the conversion of the former Greater Saint Matthew Baptist Church into apartments by Barzilay Development. While some neighbors were concerned when 38-unit project at Grays Ferry & Fitzwater was originally proposed due to a lack of parking, we were pleased as punch to see an old church in this neighborhood repurposed instead of demolished. Leasing efforts were underway, with one, two, and three bedroom apartments ranging from 381 sqft to 1,382 sqft in size, and prices between $1,200 and $2,750 per month.

In recent days, some readers have reached out to let us know about a possible problem with the project that could undermine an otherwise tasteful renovation effort. Above the front entrance, you can currently see a collection of rooftop compressor units. It looks pretty awful.

Oh no

Closer look

One might think that these units are only there temporarily, waiting to be moved to a less conspicuous rooftop location. But according to the reader who contacted us today, the plan is for the units to remain where they are above the door, in plain view of anyone walking past. In a city where you have to set back the front of your roof deck eight feet, it seems odd that this is allowed.

SOSNA is currently in touch with neighbors and the City, trying to work through this situation. Is the placement of the units kosher? If it is, could the developers be convinced to move them? Even if the developers built a stone parapet wall in front of the compressors, as a reader suggested, that could go a long way to mitigate the awfulness of their presence above the entrance. But even that might look clumsy and out of place. One thing is for sure, the compressors aren't apparent in any project renderings.

Rendering, sans hvac units

As we get more info on this, we'll be sure to let you know.

Update: The developers reached out, and they've told us that they'll be adding a fence with a faux hedge to hide the HVAC units. The fence is already installed. Check out this rendering:

Proposed cover for the units

What do you think about this solution?