Well this is unexpected: Developers have bought a historic church in Philly—and they plan to preserve it. Really, though: PlanPhilly reported that Nicholas Melisiotis and two other partners recently purchased the First African Baptist Church in Graduate Hospital for an undisclosed price, yet have no intention to convert the church into apartments. At least, that's what they're saying for now.
"We don't have any plans for the church at the moment," Melisiotis said on Wednesday. "Our primary goal is—we want to save the church, and that was it. We didn't want to see this part of history go away." First African Baptist Church was recently added to the city's register of historic places, despite protests from the church's Reverend Terrence D. Griffith. Initial plans were to sell the property and convert it into condos. But a group of congregants worked with architectural historian Oscar Beisert on an application to add the church to the city's register of historic places.
The church, located at the southwest corner of 16th and Christian, was constructed in 1906 and designed by Watson & Huckel. The limestone structure is one of the oldest and longest-running African-American places of worship in Philly.