Though you may have already heard about this one, we’re telling you about it anyway. Very soon, a parking lot on the northeast corner of 18th and Vine Sts. in Logan Square will be replaced by a very large Mormon temple.

Current view

Future site plan

It still may be many months before workers break ground on construction of the Church of Latter-Day Saints temple, which was planned to be built (announced more than three years ago) at 1739 Vine St.  this summer, now that the LDS have purchased the former Grasso lot across the street, where once there were plans for a 46-story skyscraper. Previous plans approved by the Logan Square Neighborhood Association called for the construction of a temple and meetinghouse at 18th and Vine. Those plans included a spot-zoning variance to approve the fabrication of a spire that pierces the 125-foot height limit in the area directly in front of where now stands The Watermark building, a retirement community, but not exceed the height of the structure itself. (The spire is the only part of the edifice that will breach the height limit.)

Future site

Rendering of the new temple

“Now the question arises whether the proposal is to build the meeting house at the original location or the new site,” says LSNA zoning chair Ed Panek. Panek says if the meeting house was erected on the former Grasso lot, which the LDS recently acquired from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, it could create much needed green space in the area between the two buildings.

Former Grasso lot, just to the east of the future temple

While this question may delay groundbreaking by a few months, if it means this project will not only mean the construction of an ornate temple but also the addition of an enclave of green space in our urban environment, well that sounds pretty good to us indeed.

–Lou Mancinelli