Manayunk’s former St. Lucy’s site to take on transformation

With civic approval obtained, local developers are seeking to transform former church property in Manayunk into apartments and single family homes.

Developers from Green Lane Realty Associates have obtained land and buildings that once belonged to St. Lucy’s Parish, which was merged in 2012 as part of a restructuring initiative by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

They seek to convert the former St. Lucy School into 14 apartments, convert the former rectory into three single-family homes, and bring nine additional homes to what currently serves as a parking lot, situated across Green Lane from the shuttered school building.

With the project set for construction in three separate stages, developers hope to begin their work by the summer months, pending zoning approval.

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Three phases 

Representing Green Lane Realty Associates, Manayunk-based attorney Bill O’Brien provided details about the scope of the project.

O’Brien said that the first phase of building will focus on the school, which is slated to have 14 roof decks and pilot houses incorporated as part of the design.

The apartments will be approximately 580 square feet for the single bedroom units and 785 square feet for the two-bedroom units and are expected to be priced at approximately $1,100 and $1,400 respectively.

Also included in this phase will be the demolition of the parish’s rectory and garage into three single-family homes facing Smick Street. O’Brien noted that the three houses can be built “by right,” as they conform to zoning code specifications in terms of size, height, and lot size. Prices were estimated at being in the low $400,000 range.

Unlike the houses, however, the school will need a variance for its conversion into a multi-family residential property.

The second phase of the project will be the construction of seven single-family homes on Green Lane which is allowable by right under code. O’Brien noted that they will be wider and have more square footage than required by the city, and include a garage and space for two vehicles, served by a curb-cut on St. David’s Street.

The third phase will be construction of two additional single-family homes on the back side of the vacant lot facing Carson Street. All homes built will have brick facades, roof decks, and pilot houses, and are planned for sale, not rental.

MNC members show support  

While O’Brien noted that the single-family homes should have no impact on parking on Green Lane, residents expressed concern about the ever-increasing demand for a limited number of parking spaces on neighborhood streets.

O’Brien explained that by the final phase of the plan, six to seven spaces in the St. David’s Street lot will be reserved for the exclusive use of the residents at St. Lucy’s School, with the balance of parking shifted to a nearby parking lot, the fee for which will be included in the rent to ensure a 1:1 parking ratio and conform to Manayunk Neighborhood Council’s standard of inclusive parking fees within the rent.

“At all times, in perpetuity, there will be one space for each unit,” he said of the apartments.

At present, developers were only seeking approval for the variance needed to begin work at the former St. Lucy School – other community approvals will be sought for non-accessory parking as the project progresses.

With a request put forth that the developers secure additional discounted parking for apartment dwellers and arrange for a building/neighborhood liaison, membership of the MNC voted to approve the project.

Andy Mulson of Green Lane Realty concluded the presentation by assuring community members of his commitment to the neighborhood, of which he is a resident.

“We need to be able to put something in that is responsible here,” said Mulson. “My kids are growing up here, and [we hope] that 30 or 40 years from now they can look at it and still be proud of it.”

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