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St. Laurentius Church interiors up for historic designation

Zoning has already approved an apartment conversion

Less than a month after the zoning board approved plans to convert a Fishtown church into apartments, its interiors are now up for historic designation.

On December 14, the city’s committee on historic designation will consider the nomination to designate the interiors of St. Laurentius Church as historic, according to an agenda it posted online today.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

If the committee is in favor of designation, it will go to the Historical Commission, which will have the final say.

The nomination by Friends of Laurentius is the latest attempt by a group of local residents to save the historic church and halt developer Leo Voloshin’s plans to convert it into 23 one-bedroom apartments. In mid-November, the zoning board voted to approve the variance for construction.

That left a 30-day appeal window.

At the time of the zoning decision, the Faithful Laurentians, another group, told PlanPhilly that they planned to take action in that window.

St. Laurentius is the city’s first Polish church and was added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in 2015. It was designed by local architect Edwin Forrest Durang, who specialized in ecclesiastical design.

After the church was saved from demolition last year, neighbors were split on their views for its future. While one side is in favor of the adaptive-reuse project, the other wants to see the church return to a place of worship.

The committee on historic designation meeting is on December 14 at 9:30 a.m. at 1515 Arch Street, room 18-029.

St. Laurentius Church

1612 E Berks St, Philadelphia, PA 19125