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St. Laurentius Church apartment conversion clears hurdle with court win

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But opposition to the development remains

The facade of a historic stone church with three red doors.
St. Laurentius church in Fishtown awaits its future.
Courtesy of Google Streetview

The embattled proposal to convert Fishtown’s St. Laurentius Church into apartments just cleared its latest hurdle in the courts, although the developer still remains wary of the project’s future.

Yesterday a judge with the Court of Common Pleas ruled in favor of the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA)’s granting of a variance to developer Leo Voloshin, who wants to turn the church into 23 one-bedroom apartments. PlanPhilly reports:

The Faithful Laurentians, a community group formed solely to prevent apartments from being built within the abandoned church, argued against the granting of the variance, and then appealed the grant to the Court of Common Pleas.

But the City of Philadelphia argued that the group’s members did not identify themselves as an aggrieved party or an official organization at the ZBA hearing and therefore do not have standing to sue. On Tuesday, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Daniel Anders agreed.

Still, the community group says it plans to appeal the court’s decision, which could potentially delay development by another few months. Meanwhile, Voloshin told PlanPhilly that the church continues to fall into disrepair and may not make it through the winter.

All past coverage of St. Laurentius Church can be found here.

St. Laurentius Church

1612 E Berks St, Philadelphia, PA 19125