Board Approves Demolition of Franklinton Church for Affordable Housing
The East Franklinton Review Board (EFRB) gave its conditional approval yesterday to a plan to demolish the former West Side Spiritualist Church at 79 McDowell St.
The proposal, from the affordable housing nonprofit Homeport, calls for a four-story, 50-unit apartment complex on the site. Residents of the building would have access to 60 parking spaces in the Gravity II garage, which will be located directly across the street. That project was approved by the board last fall.
Yesterday’s approval followed a February 12th business meeting during which representatives of Homeport presented their case that the church would be too costly to restore. Even just preserving the primary facade of the building would cost a million dollars, and they were not able to secure the funds to do that, they said.
The new design is an updated version of one presented to the EFRB in December. It does incorporate at least one major historic element – the stained glass window and surrounding masonry from the original church will be restored and mounted above the entrance to the new building.
The plans were approved on the condition that Homeport is awarded the affordable housing tax credits that will be necessary to complete the project.
The church building has been vacant for about seven years, during which several plans to renovate it for different uses have failed to come to fruition.