For many years, the Saint Rita of Cascia Shrine on South Broad Street has been planning the Cascia Center, "a place of healing, reflection, and assistance for all people." Loosely translated, the facilities at Saint Rita's weren't sufficient to accommodate all of their needs and they require a new building for large meetings, one-on-one counseling, and food preparation for large groups. To that end, they crafted a plan a few years ago to renovate the former Saint Rita's school at Broad & Ellsworth, which would have included a small glass addition.
An underwhelming fundraising effort apparently 86ed that plan, and they ended up demolishing the old school in early 2014. A couple months later, we got a glimpse of the revised plan for the site which would have meant a one-story building at the corner of Broad & Ellsworth with a parking lot in the rear. We panned the plan, as did the community, with everyone disappointed with the idea of a one-story building at this prominent corner.
A couple months later, Saint Rita's indicated that they'd be willing to collaborate with a developer to improve the plan, ostensibly adding height and a residential use. As the years have rolled along though, nothing much has changed at the site.
But finally, it seems that something better is coming to this corner. Earlier today, a reader tipped us off to a story on Catholicphilly.com which provides a major update. According to the story, Saint Rita's will partner with Catholic Health Care Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to combine the Cascia Center with affordable housing for seniors. Though we haven't seen a drawing yet, we're encouraged to hear that they've retained Cecil Baker + Partners to do the design work. We'd like to see something with some scale here, and would bet that the look of the new building will compliment the awesome structure next door.
As soon as we get any more updates, we'll be sure to share. In the meantime, let's applaud a development situation that has taken a turn from unfortunate to promising in just a couple of years.