The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is proposing to construct a monumental, $70 million temple on a block at 18th and Vine streets in Center City that will serve its growing membership throughout the Delaware Valley and beyond.
The temple will add another major anchor to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which is already being enhanced by the construction of the new museum for the Barnes Foundation. The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul is also nearby as well as other museums that dot the parkway.
The project has other significance. This will be the first temple to be constructed in Pennsylvania, and enable Mormons living in the region to attend services and special occasions, such as weddings, without having to drive to Manhattan or Washington, D.C. It will serve the 30,000 church members between northern Delaware, South Jersey and from Harrisburg eastward, said Elder Robert B. Smith, Area Seventy, who oversees church activities in the area.
If the church gets zoning and other approvals, it will also be a boost for the construction sector, which has been in the doldrums for two years as financing dried up for new projects. About 300 jobs will be associated with building the temple. The church will self-finance the development and has funds earmarked for the project. It would like to break ground by the end of the year. An opening is targeted for 2013.
“This has been on the horizon,” Smith said about the project, noting the church announces up to five new temple projects each year. The church a few years ago considered building a temple on North Broad Street and bought land to explore that option but realized the parcel was too small.
“This will be a beautiful addition to the city,” Smith said. “The design is of the highest quality and will be an attractive addition to Vine Street and Logan Square. We’ve been very sensitive to the surrounding area.”
While the final design of the Philadelphia temple is still being worked out, the project will be similar in appearance as the temple in Washington, D.C., and Salt Lake City but not in scale. The Philadelphia temple will have two spires. The Atlanta offices of architectural firm Perkins+Will is designing the Philadelphia project.
Read the full article and more:
Mormon Temple Hops Hurdle, Philadelphia Business Journal
Plans Advance for Mormon Temple in Philly, Philadelphia Daily News
City Council Approves Height Variance, KYW1060.com
Google Map showing location
See a photograph of the site
Unofficial Philadelphia Mormon Temple website, by The More Good Foundation