Welcome to Curbed Philly’s Open Threads, where we turn to you for input on some of Philly’s most hot-button issues. Every week, we will pick a recent story and hand the mic (or keyboard) over to you, so you can tell us what you think. Up this week: The Christian Street Baptist Church.
This week, Philly.com reported that developer Ori Feibush has begun demolition on the 19th-century Christian Street Baptist Church. The church, which was listed for sale by the congregation last year, has been the source of much debate in recent months.
Originally, preservationists hoped the church would be placed on Philly’s register of historic places, but didn’t get enough votes to make the cut. Then, Feibush suggested tearing the building down and constructing residential homes in its place, but neighbors gave the idea a resounding “no.” Finally, Feibush sold the place to an unnamed buyer last month, who requested that the church be torn down, according to Paul Steinke, executive director of the Philadelphia Preservation Alliance.
Efforts have been made to save the church—Feibush originally offered to sell it if the right buyer came along, Steinke worked with politicians to gain support—but all the efforts were in vain. The church has already lost some major structural elements, with more demolition coming this week.
The debate over the 19th-century place is a big one in Bella Vista, but we want your opinion. What do you think about the decision to demolish? Would you have preferred the church stayed as-is? Would you like to see Feibush’s plan of residential homes? What do you want to see in the new space? Let us know any and all of your thoughts on the church in the comments. And please, be frank but kind.