The Daily Pennsylvanian
reports that P&A Associates (the developers behind the St. James and the Murano) originally hoped to reuse the church when they purchased it back in 2007. From the DP:
A retail space was not the original plan for 125 S. 40th Street. When they bought the building, P&A Associates intended to secure tenants who would use it as is or with slight modifications.
“We would have preferred to keep [the building], but someone would have to pay us rent,” [P&A Associates co-founder Peter] Shaw said.
With the future of the building at a standstill, P&A decided to cater to the desires of the community. “We are doing what there is a demand for, and there is a demand for new stores,” Shaw said.
Three of the four retail spaces have tenants: Dunkin' Donuts, Whirled Peace Frozen Yogurt, and Philadelphia Chutney Company. As our brethren at Naked Philly put it
: "This is great news, because when you have the opportunity to replace a historic (though not designated) building that adds beauty and architectural diversity to a neighborhood with a donut shop, a froyo store, and a dosa place, you really just gotta do ten times out of ten."
Though the church is historic, it is not listed in the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, thus opening the door for demolition. Calls to contractor J.F. Huebner & Son inquiring about the timeline for demolition were not returned.