Nosy Neighbor Report: Redeemer Renovations

“Dear East Falls Local, what is going on in the old Redeemer church building? I WANNA SEEEEE!!!!!” Well okay, then. Let’s have a look, shall we?

If you’ve followed us for any length of time, you’ll know we’re big fans of historic architecture. So is developer Gary Jonas – I know, I know, he’s still in the business of making money off our collective landscape but hear us out. He’s ultimately a preservationist, too, because his jam is repurposing old buildings, not tearing them down.

St. Bridget’s Lofts on Stanton, that’s a perfect example of how Gary kept the old school looking pretty much as it always has from the street – but inside, it was transformed into unique luxury apartments you can view in our walk-thru from 2015. All the units were quickly occupied, East Falls is a very desirable neighborhood, plus some people really do like to live in historic buildings.

And Gary likes to work with them – it’s a neat niche. We’re glad he’s saving our streetscapes, because most developers will think nothing of mowing down perfectly livable historic structures to replace them with soulless blocks of garages and roof decks. With that in mind, we turn to the former “Redeemer church” gracing the corner of Conrad and Midvale since 1909.

Before renovations began, we took a million pics inside & out (including all of Redeemer’s stained glass windows, which were sold last spring to support our library). Feeling that we knew every inch of this space, we were shocked to learn they were fitting 9 units in here, including a 2-bedroom with just 750 sq ft?! How could that possibly work..?

Answer: very nicely, actually.

“The Kelly” unit has an elevated living room that makes great use of vertical space. We expected to feel cramped but the floorplan is surprisingly open and light.  Their other 2-bedrooms, “The Penn” and “The Wissahickon” (they’re all named for East Falls streets, btw) have stairs to an upper bedroom or loft beneath the church’s roof, where supports become unique features in each unit.

The windows are also interesting throughout, as you’d expect with the old church’s long, skinny windows, and that giant one right in the middle. So you’ll see windows in odd places (the shower?) and funny-shaped ones that don’t open and stuff but that’s charm, people. It’s a historic building, you either love these details or you don’t.

Everyone, however, can appreciate the scenery. Again, really loving how the stairs and different levels maximize not only the space in each unit but also the view. Basic stuff like flooring, cabinets & appliances are uniformly neutral, and kinda blend quietly into the background. For such a modern renovation, you can still feel the building’s history in its solid bones of Wissahickon schist.

Our only quibble: the white around the exterior windows is a little severe, we think – almost looks like cheap aluminum windows till you get up close, d’oh! Earlier renderings showed dark brown, which you can still find on the cover of 3460 Midvale’s info packet, above. Looks better, doesn’t it? Meh.

Taste is so subjective — what do you think, East Falls?  About the windows, about the floor plans, about the new neighbors we’re expecting to move in here soon enough. Rents will be comparable to St. Bridget’s Lofts for very special place to call home, indeed.

PS: Those beams, the windows, all that vertical space = kitty wonderland, I bet. (Can’t be the only cat owner who’d count this as a major plus!)

UPDATE JAN 2, 2018: Already only 2 of the 9 units are left for rent. Speaking of rents: the 1 bedrooms/1 baths range from $1250-$1450/month, the 2 bedrooms/1 baths range from $1550-$1650/month and the 1 – 3 bedrooms/1 bath rented for $1850/month.

Learn more about 3640 Midvale – or arrange for your own personal tour —  thru Ashley George of HOW! Properties: ashley@howproperties.com.

Love all the historical architecture in East Falls? Come out to Joseph Minardi’s fascinating presentation at the Falls of Schuylkill Library on Wednesday February 28th from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Vintage photos of Philadelphia neighborhoods plus a run-down on what your average citizen can do to help preserve our architectural heritage (HINT: a lot!). Read more here.

FLOORPLANS (please note the list prices were from a brief period when HOW! thought they might sell the units as condos — now, however, they are for rent):

 

3 Comments

    • Carolyn Fillmore

      It is a heartbreaking story, for sure. Certainly agree it would be mighty Christian of the church to reimburse the parishioners from the money they made from the building’s sale.

    • Theresa Cubbin

      I agree about the color of the door, I think a red door would add a pop of color.
      Everything looks very sterile, not warm and welcoming!

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