Thursday, February 13, 2014
Per request of Hosander and Lindsay. When I first read that the LDS Church was building a 32 story building in Philadelphia it was a splash in the face. Philadelphia is corrupt, dysfunctional, and just plain old. The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized if they could pull this off, it might just beat building Nauvoo out of the swamps of Illinois. In the church's defense: I recently was reading On the Make with statistics of Philadelphia's center city being one of the richest, youngest, and most educated in America. Something like 80 percent of the area is in their late 20's or early 30's--in other words, a bunch of young professionals with no family obligations and plenty of disposable income--I have no qualms with their enormous rental payments going to the church. Despite Philadelphia's white flight to the suburbs (or Southwestern United States), there are a few other economies that aren't likely to leave Philadelphia soon. Philly's a medical Mecca, an artist and bohemian paradise, tourist treasure,and has some of the best food around. Yet despite these attractions, there is no place to live. Everything is old, and as romantic and quaint as that is for a time, few people enjoy living long term in a home laced with lead paint, crawling with mice (or worse), and dark. I'm glad the church is using it's enormous investing power to rescue what has been abandoned and then transform it, perhaps a little like it's doctrine, eh? Perhaps the idea for the building must have come when they realized how ridiculous the housing prices are when they were looking for housing for the temple president. Also, despite the growing LDS population in the area eager to attend the temple, most capable of manning a full fledged temple are doing everything they can to simply support their family and their local congregations. An apartment this size and location would be ideal for housing temple missionaries much like D.C.'s. I agree, it sounds risky at first glance, and maybe even the second glance for anyone familiar with the grunge and grime of Philly. I wouldn't mind if they considered this part of the church's humanitarian efforts since the building will be paying bucket loads in taxes that will support the rest of Philadelphia's not quite so privileged demographics. I think they would be wise to do a green roof, not just for economic and environmental reasons, but as a nod towards the liberals and/or loyal Phillies who though not knowing much about Mormons, will appreciate an investment in the beautification of their city. Personally I'm sorry it is coming after our time here. I'm proud of the church's trend to invest in the inner city as Mauss discusses at the end of the article, and I'm excited to see the waves from such a splash. As far as the temple? It's "on schedule" from reports, but for a temple announced in 2008, this seems far from on schedule unless the point is to make the temple available right after the Cranneys leave.