Friday, April 8, 2011

Mormon Church buys property near temple site in Philadelphia

by Natalie Kostelni

"It’s a done deal for the Mormon Church.

The church has closed on the purchase of 1601 Vine St. in Center City, paying roughly $12.5 million for the parcel that sits next to a site where it plans to construct a new temple at 17th and Vine streets. The church bought the 2.1-acre site from Hudson Realty Capital, a New York investment firm that controlled the property. (Last year, the church bought the land it will use for the new temple for $7.5 million.)

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority signed off last month to designate the church as developer for the property. The church hasn’t decided what to do with the site. It viewed the deal as an opportunity to buy the site now and eventually devise plans for it.

The church will assume the current zoning on the site, which can accommodate a large development. Four years ago, Grasso Holdings proposed a $315 million, 1.8-million-square-foot project that would have included two buildings. One structure was a 46-story tower that would have had a 250-room Intercontinental Hotel and 250 residential units. A second building would have had 300 residential units, and also included 130,000 square feet of retail space. Those plans were ditched."

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