Heavenly Pursuit: Saint Laurentius in Fishtown Could Become Apartments

Developer Leo Voloshin has entered into an agreement of sale with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for the 130-year old church building, pending a few contingencies.


It’s amazing what a difference a year can make, especially in the case of Saint Laurentius Church in Fishtown.

One year after facing the wrecking ball, developer Leo Voloshin has entered into an agreement of sale with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to purchase the building and convert it into an as-yet unknown number of apartments. Jared Brey of PlanPhilly reports that there is the “overarching contingency on the agreement” is that Voloshin has to be able to make sure the project financially viable.

More from Brey:”[Voloshin] plans to meet with community groups and pursue zoning approvals over the next few months. Parts of the building will need expensive repairs, he said—though perhaps not as expensive as the Archdiocese has claimed in the past.” Voloshin also said the deal wouldn’t close unless he can’t get the necessary zoning approvals in place.

The Archdiocese notified mass-goers last March–one year after closing the church for safety reasons–that the hallowed building on East Memphis Street would be demolished, citing the cost to rebuilding the towers would be $3.5 million compared to $1 million to raze the structure.

Over the next year, neighbors bonded together in an effort to save the church from demolition. Their efforts paid off in July, when the Philadelphia Historical Commission designated the twin-steepled landmark as historic, thus protecting the exterior of the building. Brey reports the interior has been nominated as historic as well, though that process is pending. Voloshin said he plans to keep the exterior “entirely intact.”