Plans to turn the former campus of St. Mary of the Assumption in Manayunk into a residential development have drastically changed, with the developer cutting the number of units in half and adding street parking to the mix.
The Inquirer reported this week of the changes to the master plan, which has been in the making since 2015 and met with heavy opposition from the neighborhood. The redevelopment at play involves the former campus of St. Mary of the Assumption, which includes a church, rectory, school, and a parking lot on 1.7 acres bound by Carson, Conarroe, and Gay streets and Brewery Alley.
Developer Jack Bienenfeld originally envisioned 130,840 square feet of both existing and new structures, with 100 apartments, 34 of which would be located in the church, rectory, and school. The rest of the units would be new construction. Parking for 132 vehicles and 50 bike spaces were also included.
But for residents of Manayunk, where finding parking is an every day battle, the lack of street parking and removal of parking for the nearby North Light Community Center made the project a no-go. At the Civic Design Review meeting for the project in April 2017, one resident said, “I recognize that I live in the city, so I do not expect to park in front of my house. But since losing the parking spaces in the church, I’ve sometimes had to park half a mile away from my home.”
The developer and designer spent the rest of the year back at the drawing board. The new proposal, which was presented to Manayunk residents on Thursday night, now calls for 21 homes, each with two parking spaces; 35 apartments with 52 parking spaces; eight to 10 parking spaces on Carson Street; and 16 parking spaces for Northern Light Community Center to rent.
Kevin Smith, president of the Manayunk Neighborhood Council, told the Inquirer he was in support of the new plan.