Church Demolished, 278 Units to Rise at 43rd & Chestnut

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Christ Memorial Reformed Episcopal Church at 43rd and Chestnut St. – demolished

We have told you about multiple, large, residential and mixed-use projects rising on Chestnut St. in West Philadelphia. A 420 mixed-use tower is rising at 38th and Chestnut St. We also wrote about a 141 unit modular construction building that is under construction at 42nd and Chestnut.

Today, we bring you another project just west of these two developments. The beautiful Gothic, 19th-century Christ Memorial Reformed Episcopal Church at 43rd and Chestnut St. has been demolished. Developers plan to construct 278 residential units with ground floor commercial space in its place. The structure is planned to be 7-stories tall and will also include 54 underground car parking spots and 109 bicycle spaces. The project will need to appear before the non-binding Civic Design Review (CDR) because of the number of units it contains.

Alterra Property Group purchased the 37,627 square foot CMX-4 zoned parcel in February for $17 million while the church was in the middle of the demolition process. Alterra is also the developer behind the 141 unit modular building being built at 42nd and Chestnut. It seems like Alterra has high expectations for University City and its westward expansion. As we have mentioned before, more jobs continue to be added in West Philadelphia and there is no shortage of students in this area. Developers are seizing the opportunity to build high-end inventory for these residents. We do not see the trend slowing down over the coming decade.

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4233 Chestnut St. Rendering

We are obviously sad to see such a beautiful church wiped out. They definitely do not build structures like the Christ Memorial Reformed Episcopal Church anymore. We would have loved to have seen the church re-purposed into a new use. However, the church was neglected for several years. A large section of the facade fell off the southwest corner of the church in 2012. The stone remnants laid on the church lawn, surrounded by construction fencing until the day the building was demolished. The different owners of the church over the last several decades did not have the capital to upkeep the building and let it fall into disarray. This likely made the cost of repair and restoration enormous.

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4233 Chestnut St. Elevation Drawing

We are happy to see this residential density added to West Philadelphia. New units are needed in this section of town to house its growing population. We imagine the owners will target students and young professionals for the apartments. This location is a short walk to the University of Pennsylvania, hospitals, and office buildings. It is also only a few blocks from the 40th St. El Station. We look forward to seeing what type of retail establishment opens in the building. How do you feel about this development? How do you feel about the demolition of the church?

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