Breaking: Mayor Announces Major Mormon Development

1601 Vine Street will include a Mormon meetinghouse and new residential tower.


Mayor Nutter held a press conference a few minutes ago to talk about plans for the 1600 block of Vine Street, which will have two new facets — residential and religious. Designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, the complex will include a 32-story tower with 258 rental apartments and 13 three-story townhouses; a 24,000-square-foot Mormon Family History Center and community center; retail shops; and “a new tree-lined privately-owned public street [that] will connect Vine Street to Wood Street.” (Emphasis ours because, well, that’s funny.)

The tower is being developed by Property Reserve Inc., which works real estate magic for the Mormon Church. According to a statement on Stern’s website, Tom King, a PRI director, lauded Philadelphia’s “leaders and agencies” for being “most responsive and sophisticated in properly supporting this investment.”

“Sophisticated”? Did King think we were a bunch of rubes?

Like other Stern buildings of upcoming vintage, the design will draw on “Philadelphia’s strong tradition of brick-and-masonry Georgian and Federal architecture.” Locally, BLT Architects will be Associate Architect on the project.

Though Nutter professed his excitement about this development, he was subdued. Is he a little disconcerted by what the LDS Church’s Michael Marcheschi said about “the Church’s ecclesiastical commitment to the City of Philadelphia”? If so, he didn’t show it. He simply took a break, and then segued into the storm.

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  • locustst

    is the idea that the residential units would be geared toward mormon residents?

    • Katie Moore Baldwin

      Probably not. Mormons are very respectful of property laws and especially laws against discrimination in housing. I think the “privately-owned” part may serve more to discourage protesters bothering people who are getting married at the temple across the street, rather like on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

      • docC

        The residential units are a real estate investment for the LDS Church but it will be managed and run by a commerical organization for anyone to own/rent at market prices.
        The building next door is a standard meeting house/chapel for 2-3 congregations and open to the public. It will include a family history center (also open to the public).

  • Frank the Tank

    Please, please, please let the Provence be the winning casino submission. I want these two to be neighbors.

  • NateFried

    Brick and masonry! AWESOME!!!

  • Niel McDowell

    Time to start thinking of new neighborhood names…Mormontown? NoMor?

  • “privately owned public street” does sound oxymoronic, but there is a well-known one of these in New York that millions of Americans see on their TVs every morning: Rockefeller Plaza, the mid-block street at the heart of Rockefeller Center. My recollection is that the street is closed to traffic one day of the year every year in order for it to remain a privately owned street. I have no idea whether Pennsylvania law has a similar requirement.

  • Penn

    Joke’s on them, there is no god.

    • Joseph Minardi

      The god the Mormons really worship? The Almighty Dollar.

  • Andy Reid

    The Mormons might be the last best hope for salvaging a fraction of the dysfunctional death zones of Norf Philly.

    • Joseph Minardi

      Ever heard of Temple University???