Demolition of Christ Memorial Church at 43rd and Chestnut moving along

October 2, 2018

Demolition of the 19th century church at 43rd and Chestnut is well underway, and a large residential apartment complex is reportedly in the works to replace it.

A New York based firm, registered as 4233 Chestnut Street LLC, bought the 131-year-old Christ Memorial Reformed Episcopal Church property in June for a whopping $10.5 million, according to city records. The 37,000-square-foot property is zoned CMX-4, which allows multi-story apartment buildings. 

Several high-profile apartment buildings have either been completed or are proposed for the area around the church. In the past few years, construction on the apartment building across the street was completed, demolition of the Wash n’ Lube Car Wash on the 4200 block of Chestnut cleared the way for a 6-story, 130-unit apartment building, and plans for a 165-unit building on the 4400 block of Chestnut were given tacit approval.

The future of the church had been in doubt for years, at least since the church’s 170-foot-high steeple collapsed during an intense storm in 2004. The dwindling Christ Memorial congregation sold the church to local developer Guy Laren soon after the storm. The steeple base was shored up in 2015, but repairs on the rest of the church never followed. A variety of organizations have rented space in the church in recent years.

7 Comments For This Post

  1. Eric Says:

    I’ve seen the evolution of this area since I moved in 12/01/1976. The ever changing times.

  2. Stephen Says:

    Bob Christian and Beth Nixon – where are you for this one?shameful.

  3. Strong Foru Says:

    My heart cries for the neighborhoods being demolished to make way for ‘progress’ which is considered hastily designed and constructed apartments with qualifications and price points created to keep long-time residents out (POC) and bring new residents (European descent) in.

    At least make an attempt to offer a percentage of the housing as affordable units like NYC and many other major cities require.

  4. Dona Sells Says:

    Sad news. I hope there is another church nearby that people could go to…

  5. red dog Says:

    This is sad news top to bottom—-sad that the church moved out, sad that Laren never seemingly really had a plan to really use the buildings, and now regardless of what’s built there the odds are long that it will be anything but junk student housing. I wonder what Laren is going to do with his windfall, like maybe invest it in renovating his church building at 47th and Kingsessing.

  6. Erica Mason Says:

    I have some articles from when the church was first built. It’s of the ceremony that took place with laying the last corner stone. It’s from September 23, 1886. @westphillylocal

  7. Walt Gekko Says:

    It’s sad but not surprising. They likely were never in a position to fix the steeple, and the Church itself became antiquated.

    As for the buildings, they should be (sadly) looking to build some New York-style high-rises that will help with the rapid expansion of Penn and Drexel. Yes, it (sadly) does kick out a lot of long-time residents but the area as a whole has been changing for the past decade.

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