For the past three years, we've anxiously read about and watched the slow development of the Philadelphia Temple of the Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS Church) at 17th & Vine. At a time that so many religious buildings are facing the wrecking ball, it's a refreshing change of pace to cover a one that's actually being built. The temple is part of a three-building development by the church which is clearly aiming to make a statement of arrival and permanence in our fair city. The other two buildings include a meetinghouse and a 32-story tower of apartments lined with a few rowhomes on the bottom. Last week, the temple development site reached a major milestone when the pinnacle of the building (and, in fact, every Mormon temple), the Angel Moroni, was placed on top of the building's higher east-facing spire. Take a look:

The Angel Moroni

View from the east

The temple is slated to be completed during the second half of this year which is about 2 years later than the LDS Church originally planned. But hey, landmark buildings like this take time. As we understand it, when it's finally completed, the building will be open to the public for a few weeks, and then unfortunately closed as a members-only facility after it goes through its dedication ceremony. As such, the primary benefit of this building to broader Philadelphia is its architecture, clearly visible from Logan Square, and the public space surrounding the building, which will contain multiple gardens, trees, and a reflecting pool to showcase the building.

The grounds: soon to be landscaped and planted

Another fun fact about the building is that the height of its cornice matches the exact height of the neighboring former Family Court building (slated to become a hotel), and the matching Free Library on Logan Square. The color of the temple though, is entirely different from the other two buildings. While we were there, we also thought it would be good to snap a few photos of the meetinghouse and the tower's construction status.

The basement levels of the “Mormon Tower”

The current progress of the meetinghouse

Snooping around online, we found a site plan for the first floor of the residential and meetinghouse retail component being advertised through MSC Retail. It looks like all of it will be on the 16th Street side of the building.

Who's interested in some new retail space?

We're looking forward to these buildings coming to completion, and we're certainly elated that the development filled up parking lots that blighted the area for years. The new residents, architectural interest, public space, and retail portions of this project are all big pluses for this city.

The view in 2017-18