Breaking: Mayor Announces Major Mormon Development

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

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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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