March 04, 2015

St. Boniface Redevelopment History

front of church

In 2006, the Redemptorist Order and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia put out a Request for Proposals for the sale of the St. Boniface Church complex after determining that the extent and cost of repairs needed to fix the church was too high. Before the church closed and when the complex operated at full capacity, the complex also housed a school with over 200 students, a convent with residences for nuns, a rectory with office and residences for priests and a community center that also hosted a technical school.

In November 2006, NSCA concludes a strategic planning process funded by the Wachovia Foundation. The Wachovia Neighborhood Strategic Plan includes a neighborhood survey that, among other things, asks residents what they want to see happen to the St. Boniface site.  300 neighborhood residents answer the survey. The top four community suggested uses are:

  • Employment/ Job Training Center…80.80%
  • Affordable Housing for Families…78.26%
  • A Recreational Center…68.12%
  • A Charter School or Some Other Educational Facility…65.22%

In October 2007, the Board of Directors moves to purchase the St. Boniface complex.

On June 20, 2008, the City of Philadelphia commits $500,000 towards demolition expenses for the church building.

♦ In the fall of 2008, NSCA holds a series of community meetings to further gauge the Norris Square community's desires for the St. Boniface complex. The results of the Wachovia survey are discussed as well as different housing options available for the site. 60 residents attend the meeting at the Lighthouse on October 22, 2008. 115 residents attend the meeting at St. Boniface School on November 5, 2008. Based on these meetings and the survey, the NSCA Board of Directors approves affordable housing as a feature for the St. Boniface site at their board retreat.

In 2009, volunteer groups from Temple School of Law, Villanova University and World Changers begin the process of cleaning out the Community Center and painting the Rectory.

On November 30, 2009, the Community Design Collaborative awards NSCA a service grant for a team of architects, engineers, planners, historic preservationists and cost estimators to volunteer their services to develop a feasibility study for the St. Boniface complex.

"Fall 2009 Service Grants Announced," December 3, 2009 Community Design Collaborative Blog

♦ In February 2010, NSCA is awarded a $9.1 million grant by the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP2) through a collaboration of 16 organizations led by the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB). The HUD grant supports the construction of 15 units of affordable housing at the site of St. Boniface, the Las Terrazas single-family housing development on Susquehanna and scattered site rehabilitations of vacant single-family homes throughout the neighborhood.

♦ In July 2010, the Community Design Collaborative completes their feasibility study for the St. Boniface Complex and presents NSCA with concept drawings and recommendations for the use of the site. For more information of the Community Design Collaborative's involvement in the project, check out the link and original concept plans below. For more detailed information about the Community Design Collaborative's feasibility study, contact the NSCA Real Estate Department at (215)426-8723.

"A New Life for St. Boniface." September 7, 2012 Community Design Collaborative Blog

Site Plans and Conceptual Drawings from Community Design Collaborative Feasibility Study

CDC Proposed Site Plan 1

CDC Proposed Floor Plan

CDC Proposed Parking and Terrace

CDC Axonmetric

♦ In October 2010, NSCA holds its public Annual Meeting and presents architectural renderings for the housing at St. Boniface from several architects who responded to the Request for Proposals. Community residents were able to vote on which conceptual design they liked best. Resident votes informed the NSCA Board of Director's decision to go with the bid from PZS Architects.

Original Site Plan for the St. Boniface Redevelopment Project proposed by PZS Architects

pzs site concept orig proposal

Original Site Plan and Elevation for Housing at St. Boniface from PZS Architects

pzs original proposal 15 unit housing concept

Original Conceptual Rendering for Housing at St. Boniface from PZS Architects

pzs orig proposal concept rendering st b housing

♦ In November 2010, NSCA is awarded $5 million from the state Department of Economic and Community Development's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) with the assistance of Senator Tartaglione.

♦ On March 13, 2011, NSCA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Chicanos Por la Causa, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office approving the project providing that NSCA undertake certain recordation measures to preserve the historic significance of St. Boniface to inform the public.

♦ In October 2011, NSCA presents the community with an update on the progress of the St. Boniface Redevelopment Project at the 2011 Annual Meeting. The Real Estate Departments also hosts a Housing Opportunities Workshop to discuss the St. Boniface Redevelopment Project and other NSCA housing efforts taking place in the neighborhood. The architect from PZS Architects presents the current plans for the housing at St. Boniface. NSCA Real Estate staff members speak about the plan to develop the housing into a Limited Equity Cooperative. An open question and answer period follows were community members give their opinions about the designs and the cooperative housing model.

Plans Presented at 2011 Annual Meeting by PZS Architects for Housing at St. Boniface

annual meeting presentation plans 11x17

annual mtg 10-15-11 housing elevation

2011 annual meeting st b site plan (2)

On February 22, 2012, NSCA holds a community meeting to update the community on the progress of the St. Boniface development and to discuss the Limited Equity Cooperative Housing model.

St. Boniface site plan presented by PZS Architects at February 22, 2012 community meeting

2-22-12 site plan

St. Boniface housing plans presented by PZS Architects at February 22, 2012 community meeting

g_1031 st boniface complex seetg-04

g_1031 st boniface complex g-03 area plans

3d view option 1 front final sm

♦ On April 17, 2012, NSCA, along with community residents, attended a hearing of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission to testify about how Councilwoman Maria Sanchez’s rezoning bill would impact the neighborhood and the St. Boniface project. NSCA presented a petition signed by 171 residents to demonstrate the community’s opposition to the zoning change pending more information and community input. NSCA also presents 181 letters of support for the St. Boniface project, including the plan to build affordable housing. For more information about Councilwoman Maria Sanchez's rezoning bill, click here.

♦On May 25, 2012, NSCA and Councilwoman Maria Sánchez reached an agreement on the St. Boniface Redevelopment Project. NSCA has agreed to build no more than 8 single family homes on the site of the church. These affordable homeownership units will include two off street parking spaces each. NSCA will also develop an additional 8 off site units of affordable housing on in fill sites near the St. Boniface complex. The Councilwoman has agreed to lend her support to the project, expediting the process of acquring city owned parcels for the development and assisting NSCA is developing a 15 unit cooperative on an alternate site. In addition to helping to identify a suitable half acre parcel, the Councilwoman has agreed to provide $250,000 in support towards its acquisition and development. As a result of the agreement, more affordable homes will be built and rehabilitated including units for homeownership and cooperative living. To read more on the agreement, click here.