A couple of months ago, we noticed a sign on the closed Annunciation BVM School at 12th & Wharton, announcing the building’s availability for purchase. The school was shut down after the 2011-12 school year, along with numerous other Catholic schools in the region. The building, located across the street from Passyunk Square, was on the market in August for $3.1M.
On Wharton St.
The structure was built as James Wilson Public School back in 1908-10. Designed by noted Philadelphia school architect Henry deCourcy Richards, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places and deservedly so. With about 69K of interior space and a decent sized parking lot next door, we figured it would be a great candidate for a residential conversion, a la the nearby Hawthorne School.
James Wilson nearly finished in 1910.
A reader checked in the other day, and gave us the heads up that potential developers for this property recently presented a preliminary plan to the Passyunk Square Civic Association. According to the PSCA website, the developers are thinking along the same lines that we were- about fifty apartments, with one and two bedrooms units and about thirty parking spaces in the lot. They’re also considering retail or some sort of community use on the first floor of the building, but are still looking for neighborhood feedback on that aspect.
While the execution will be paramount here, it seems to us that the developers have the right idea. We’re happy to hear that the building will likely be redeveloped and its appearance will apparently be maintained. Hopefully, the developer and the community will come to an agreement on how the conversion will take place, and this lovely building will be preserved for many years to come.