Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Demolition for historic church on hold

A historic Philadelphia church with ties to two saints has won another reprieve from the wrecking ball. 

The Church of the Assumption on Spring Garden Street had been slated for demolition. The review board at the Department of Licenses and Inspections now says the owners will have to hold off demolition pending an appeal in Commonwealth Court.

Sam Stretton, lawyer for the Callowhill Neighborhood Association is encouraged by the decision.

“My brief is due on March 16 on that particular issue,” said Stretton. “They have indicated that the permit runs with the land and there should be nothing until that appeal is resolved they’ve issued their stay and the stay continues at this point.”

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Carl Primavera represents the building’s current owners. He says it’s a dangerous structure and those holding up the demolition should have to put up money in case there’s an accident.

“During the time period when this case goes to the courts we think the public is at risk and my client is going to suffer a lot of liability,” said Primavera. “We’re going to ultimately ask the court that a bond be placed in case something unfortunate does happen my clients will be protected.”

The crumbling building was consecrated by St. John Neumann and it’s where St. Katherine Drexel was baptized, so Stretton says someone might be willing to save it.

“Our people might be interested in buying the building, and that might resolve some of the issues,” he said.

The building has not been used as a church since 1995. It does have a for sale sign on it — right next to the demolition notice.

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