An abandoned warehouse and an adjacent vacant lot in North Philly are going to look very different come 2019, when Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School opens its doors at 17th Street and West Allegheny Avenue.
City officials and the high school broke ground Tuesday on a $40 million project that will move Cristo Rey from its current location at 5218 N. Broad Street to a seven-acre campus in the Tioga neighborhood. The site’s current warehouse, a former A. Mecky Co. Factory that produced tricycles, will be incorporated into the design by Wonder by Design and Blackney Hayes Architects.
The move is necessary for the growing Catholic school, which is for students of all faiths who have limited financial resources. At its North Broad school, for example, there are hardly any student amenities. The new, seven-acre campus will include dining halls, science labs, a gym, an athletic field, and parking.
After the school realized it had outgrown its space on North Broad, it started looking for its new home that would become, as school founder John McConnell put it, “a school that works.” It ended up buying the warehouse and the vacant lot in 2016 for $857,677 and $1.6 million, respectively, according to property records.
When Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School at the Maguire Campus opens in 2019, it will be the first school for the Tioga neighborhood in about a century, Verna Brown-Tyner, president of Tioga United, told the Philadelphia Tribune.
It’s bound to be a big change for not just the Tioga neighborhood, but West Allegheny Avenue itself. On the same avenue down a block or two is the new senior affordable housing community NewCourtland Allegheny, which is also in the middle of its own expansion.