Philadelphia (Wednesday, March 13, 2013) — The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia has reached agreement with the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral and Radnor Property Group that guarantees the long-term care and preservation of the historic Cathedral building at 38th and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia.
The church was built in 1855 by Samuel Sloan and then rebuilt and enlarged by the well-known Philadelphia architect Charles M. Burns after a devastating fire in 1902. Formerly known as “The Church of the Saviour,” the Cathedral is the spiritual and liturgical home for the 142 congregations that make up the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.
The Cathedral is partnering with Radnor Property Group LLC of Wayne, PA in a development project immediately south of the church building. The Preservation Alliance had appealed the approval by the Philadelphia Historic Commission to allow the demolition of two brownstone-fronted buildings along Chestnut Street to make way for the development project.
Under the detailed agreement, the Cathedral will dedicate specific funds from the development project to maintain and preserve the church, and the Preservation Alliance will no longer seek to overturn the Historic Commission’s approval of the development.
“We are delighted to have reached this milestone with the Preservation Alliance,” said Cathedral Dean, The Very Rev. Judith A. Sullivan. “Our agreement clears the way for construction of needed housing, retail and office space on our property, a project that will enable us to continue serving and working to strengthen our community. Under our agreement, we also guarantee that we will use funds from the development project to assure the long-term health of our extraordinary Cathedral building.”
“We look forward to working with the Alliance, the city and community to create an exciting new development project,” said David Yeager, President of Radnor Property Group. “This $100 million project spanning over 300,000 square feet will create family sustaining jobs generating new tax revenues for the city while enhancing vitally important benefits for the community with the installation of a new 110-child Early Learning Center and a community center. This is an excellent example of implementing important economic and community development initiatives while preserving an historic treasure.”
The agreement stipulates that money will be set aside for immediate stabilization of the Cathedral and for continual maintenance over a period of 50 years. Initial improvements will be made as part of the development project to repair the building which is in need of significant work.
In addition to childcare and community centers, the development project includes an apartment building to be located on the corner of 38th Street and Chestnut Street. A second building for church offices and including rental space will be built to the east of the apartments along Chestnut Street.