Campbell Thomas & Co.

Community & Transportation Planning

< Back to previous page •  More_Master_Plans_>

St. Mary's Master Plan District in Manayunk

A Master Plan for 56 dwellings with 95 parking spaces and necessary permit approvals required for construction.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia decided to combine its parishes and sell a long-serving community church, a school, rectory, convent, and parking lot. The church was known as St Mary’s of the Assumption located in the Manayunk neighborhood of Philadelphia. The parking lot was the site of the Liebert & Obert Brewery.  Manayunk is an old industrial era neighborhood which has undergone tremendous changes over the years and has become a highly desirable place to live with its own shopping district, riverfront access, a recreational trail and just a short train or car commute to the center of Philadelphia. Manayunk is plagued with a scarcity of open space, steeply sloped streets, and an undersupply of parking.

The lots which became available offered a rare opportunity to develop a large tract in an already built-out area. Prior to purchasing the properties, the developer hired Campbell Thomas & Co. who are known among legal and design professionals for gaining community support, practical design and for historic preservation. CT&C was commissioned to design the Master Plan and to match the scale of nearby houses for development on the existing church parking lot and to re-use the church and non-historic school as apartments. The developer followed his company’s premise of “first do no harm”. He wanted to preserve the existing church, rectory, and school; rather than raise the buildings and develop high rise living units. He asked for and obtained a designation for the church as historic by the Philadelphia Historical Commission. The developer gave a portion of the purchased land to a local non-profit so they can more easily serve their existing and future membership and have adequate parking. Another portion of the lot was donated to the City of Philadelphia to provide more community public parking on the street.

CT&C developed a plan with interconnecting pathways perpendicular to parallel streets and with open spaces for recreation. The final version included 56 apartments and 95 parking spaces. There were 11 iterations of townhouse apartment designs which included re-using existing structures. CT&C worked closely with the Philadelphia Planning Commission and presented to residential community organizations to gain support and meet their needs. Although initially opposed, community opposition was overwhelmingly reversed with few objections. The purchase from the archdiocese was finalized and CT&C was also hired for the building permit portion for the townhouses. Construction is expected to begin in 2021 in phases.

< Back to previous page  •  More_Master_Plans_>