Historic Grays Ferry Church to Become 37 Apartments

John Chambers Presbyterian Church
John Chambers Presbyterian Church

If you’ve ever been on the 1600 block of South 28th Street in Grays Ferry, you’ve definitely noticed the beautiful old church just to the north of Morris Street. John Chambers Presbyterian Church sits at 1629-37 South 28th Street. The structure was built in 1902 with funding from John Wanamaker. The congregation dissolved in 2011 and the building was most recently home to the Refuge Temple of Jesus Christ. It looks like a lot less prayers will be said in this building in the future, though.

A zoning permit was issued today to turn the church into 37 apartments. The zoning permit notes that 20 of the apartments will be bi-level.

John Chambers Presbyterian Church
John Chambers Presbyterian Church – Back

The church sits on a nearly 18,000 square foot, RSA-5 zoned parcel. RSA-5 zoning is meant for single family homes. However, the church is on the local Philadelphia Register of Historic Places which affords its owners the ability to build to CMX-3 standards. CMX-3 is a much denser zoning category than RSA-5. The additional density is meant to help owners with the added costs of preserving a historic structure. We imagine that this development is able to proceed due to historic bonuses as we do not see any past zoning variances granted for the site.

We don’t have much more info to share on this project just now, but imagine we will in future months. We’re definitely happy to see this historic building get a new lease on life and are looking forward to seeing what it looks like when the conversion is completed. Now if only something similar to this could have happened to St. Laurentius in Fishtown….

How do you feel about this project? Would you like to live in an old church?

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