Assumption Developments

So it seems that Assumption BVM may not have actually burned through its nine lives. Or, perhaps more fittingly, it actually has more than the standard nine.

This update is courtesy a couple of recent developments that give us hope that Assumption, despite circling the drain more times than we can count, may yet be saved. The first comes from Inga Saffron, the Philadelphia Inquirer's architecture maven. The second, PlanPhilly.

Changing Skyline: Historic Church of the Assumption needs buyer, not wrecking ball

State historical commission seeks to block Church of the Assumption demolition


So to summarize: the Callowhill Neighborhood Association (CNA) is appealing the Philadelphia Historical Commission's decision. Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has vowed to do what the city agency wouldn't, and fight the demolition, including blocking the use of state funds to pay for it. And now interested developers are coming forward, including Bart Blatstein, the guy who almost singlehandedly remade Northern Liberties into a hipster paradise. They say that Siloam never tried long or hard enough to sell the building, and that they'd certainly love to use the property properly.

Oh, and also this week, a source close to Siloam revealed that Callowhill's appeal has basically forced their hand and emptied their wallets, so they've laid off all of their staff and are closing temporarily to save money.

Whew.

Of course, Siloam's "closing" may just be a PR stunt, the developers may really not be that interested, and the state commission really doesn't have as much power as they'd like to think.

Still, if you buy the theory that "where there's smoke, there's fire," then you have to like these developments. It shows, thankfully, that people are not just going to sit back and let Siloam and the city historical commission commit the arcitectural equivalent of highway robbery. This church is big news now, which is exactly what Siloam didn't want, and now they just might have far more than they bargained for.

Bad news for them is good news for us.