Church of the Assumption demolition decision upheld, future unclear

As PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey reports, the Historical Commission’s decision to allow demolition of the historic Church of the Assumption was upheld by Court of Common Pleas Judge Idee Fox on Tuesday.

This is just the latest legal twist in a years-long battle over the church’s preservation.

Judge Fox reversed the Board of L&I review’s decision that overturned the Historical Commission’s finding of financial hardship that led to permission to demolish the Church.

Confused? Back in 2010 the Historical Commission agreed with (then-owner) Siloam’s financial hardship case, which paved the way for demolition. The L&I Review Board overturned that finding earlier this year. In turn that decision which was challenged in Common Pleas Court.

Since then, as PlanPhilly’s Alan Jaffe reported, developer John Wei purchased the property for $1.12 million, proving that a buyer could be found for the challenging property (going against a foundational piece of Siloam’s hardship claim) if given enough time and proper marketing.

It remains unclear what Wei intends to do with the property – including the church, rectory and school – and it is unknown if he will preserve any or all elements. Demolition is now an option for Wei as well.

So now it appears that the lengthy legal process either bought time for the building or Wei will end up bulldozing it anyway.


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