Judge postpones oral arguments in Church of the Assumption demolition case

A Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge has rescheduled oral arguments in a case that could decide the fate of a historic Callowhill church.

Judge Idee C. Fox postponed a hearing scheduled for Thursday between Siloam, an AIDS social service agency that owns the Church of the Assumption on Spring Garden Street, and the Board of License and Inspection Review and the Callowhill Neighborhood Association.

The association has been seeking to prevent Siloam from demolishing the church, which was the site of the baptism of St. Katherine Drexel and was consecrated by St. John Neumann in the 19th century. It was declared historic by the city’s Historical Commission in 2009, which also voted to permit the demolition of the structure.

The L&I Review Board intervened at the request of the neighborhood association last spring to prevent the demolition, which Siloam says is necessary because the church is in need of major repairs, the social-service agency doesn’t have enough money to maintain the property and it can’t find a buyer for the church.

Siloam appealed to the Court of Common Pleas. Fox postponed oral arguments on the case to April 26 at the response of the neighborhood association, which asked for more time to review the L&I Review Board’s findings on the case, which were released about a month ago.

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