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Multifamily tower and office building revitalize Philadelphia cathedral

The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral capitalizes on hot property to help fund much needed upgrades and programs.

June 01, 2016 |
Office building and multifamily tower revitalize Philadelphia cathedral

The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, with the 3737 Chestnut building in the background. Courtesy BLT Architects. Click here to enlarge.

Faced with a dwindling congregation and shrinking cash flow, the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral found itself in a conundrum that vexes many urban churches: how to fund the modernization of its cathedral (circa 1855) and maintain operations.

3737 Chestnut, Philadelphia, Pa.

Luckily for PEC, the cathedral and its two rectory buildings sit on coveted land near Philadelphia’s booming University City innovation district. Church leaders partnered with Radnor Property Group to demolish the rectory buildings to make way for a 25-story, 276-unit multifamily tower and a three-story, 33,000-sf office building that includes below-grade parking and offices for church staff. The creative development strategy provided much-needed funding for PEC and upgraded facilities for the church’s operations and programs.

“What’s remarkable about the project is that they were able to pull it off—to find common ground, to save the church,” said awards judge Peter Ousley, Project Executive with Lendlease. “It’s an impressive feat given the complexity of the development.”




+Submitting firm: BLT Architects (architect)
+Owner: Radnor Property Group, Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral
+Interior architects: Hartman Design Group, SPG3 Architects
+Structural: The Harman Group
+MEP: Bala Engineering
+Acoustics: Metropolitan Acoustics
+Lighting: Grenald Waldron Associates
+Civil: Boles, Smyth Associates
+GC: Intech Construction


Project size: 347,000 sf
Construction cost: $81 million

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