Church of the Assumption gets one more last chance

The Philadelphia church building where St. Katharine Drexel was baptized has won a reprieve from demolition.

Last year, the city historical commission gave the previous owner permission to knock down the decommissioned Church of the Assumption at 1123 Spring Garden St. Then it was bought by John Wei, a developer active in Chinatown.

He would like to take the church down and turn the rectory into housing.

Tuesday night, the city agency that issues the final stamp on a demolition permit said the the historical commission should take another look. Until then, Philadelphia’s Licenses and Inspections Review Board decided not to allow Wei to move forward with any demolition.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

It’s not clear how soon the historical commission can take up the matter again.

“We’re still hopeful that a buyer could be found who would save the church, renovate and find a new use for a beautiful structure,” said Sarah McEneany, president of the Callowhill Neighborhood Association. She said the group will keep fighting to save the striking building whose graceful spires loom over the neighborhood.

Wei, the new owner, has just put the church building back up for sale. Proponents of demolition argue that converting the church to another use will be too costly for any developer to pursue.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal