September 30, 2021

Statement of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Regarding the Impending Demolition of the Former Saint Laurentius Church Building

The former Saint Laurentius Church building was sold to 1600 Berks LLC on January 13, 2020. At the time, the developer expressed a desire to maintain the church’s exterior and convert the interior of the building into 23 apartments. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Holy Name of Jesus Parish were pleased to see a transaction concluded successfully.

The Philadelphia Historical Commission had voted in favor of the demolition of the towers of the former church given the ongoing threat they pose to public safety. That commission also voted in favor of demolishing any additional portion of the building necessary for the safe removal of the towers.

We have learned today that demolition work will soon commence and will now, by necessity, involve the demolition of the entire structure. This matter is one for the owner of the building. The Archdiocese and Holy Name of Jesus Parish, in the interest of public safety, remain supportive of this process. As work commences, parish and Archdiocesan leadership will remain in regular contact with all necessary parties to ensure that school and parish operations can be conducted normally and within an approved safety zone. If developments require adjustments, they will be communicated to school families and parishioners.

Since the emergency closure of the building in March of 2014, the parish has been committed to providing for the safety of the students at Saint Laurentius Catholic School and the community-at-large as well as the continued presence of a Catholic parish in Fishtown.

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Contact: Kenneth A. Gavin
Chief Communications Officer
215-587-3747 (office)