50-Unit Adaptive Reuse Proposed for School at 7th and York

St. Edward the Confessor Catholic School
St. Edward the Confessor Catholic School – 701 W. York St.

It looks like the former St. Edward the Confessor Catholic School at 7th and York St. in the Hartranft neighborhood could finally find a new lease on life. The school building along with the church and other parish buildings on the same block are amazing architectural specimens. We could not be happier to hear that there is a plan to save the school building. According to the inscription on the top of the facade, the school was built in 1910. It closed, along with the rest of the parish, in 1993. Since then, the Highway Temple of Deliverance has taken over the church building.

Developers purchased the school at 701 W. York St. in January of 2018 for $600,000. The 40,800 square foot building sits on a 14,212 square foot RM-1 lot. By our calculations, about 30 units would be allowed on the site by-right without bonuses. The owner is proposing a 50-unit adaptive reuse project within the existing structure and had a date with the ZBA last week. However, the results of the meeting are not yet posted, so we are not sure if the variance was granted.

We think 50 units should fit comfortably within this structure, especially if some of the dwellings are studios and 1 bedrooms. Any reasonable plan that gives the owner financial incentive to save this important piece of Philadelphia’s streetscape should be allowed to move forward. The proposed project will provide much needed housing to more than 50 people and could produce a spark of energy in a neighborhood that has not seen much new development to date. Reusing this building is also much more eco-friendly than tearing it down and building a new structure.

How do you feel about this project? Are you happy to see a plan proposed to save this beautiful structure?

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