Update on 1716 Spruce Property

by Bill Langford September 1, 2019

For more than 150 years, Tenth Presbyterian Church’s facilities included only the sanctuary and Reception Hall. Over time, however, God has richly blessed the church with added facilities for the purpose of ministry. In 1982, the church acquired 1701 Delancey, which provided much-needed classroom space for Bible School and offices for the pastoral and administrative staff. In 1987, Tenth renovated the catacombs (below the sanctuary), and in 2000, the Lord blessed us with 315 17th Street. This further increased our space for Bible School and provided expanded classroom space for City Center Academy, now known as The City School, which was used until they acquired a school building at 910 N 6th Street in 2017.

Tenth purchased 1716 in 2012, which was a much-needed acquisition given the crowded facilities. However, in 2015, after decades of prayer and before the church began necessary and extensive renovations of 1716, 1710 Spruce Street became available. This added 18,000 square feet adjacent to the church, which was immediately put to use for additional office space, areas for fellowship, and more classes for Bible School. An additional bonus was the carriage house, which is used by the preschool; and the courtyard, which is used for outdoor receptions and events.

Tenth’s Building Committee has been working diligently to optimize ourspace utilization and focusing limited funds where they will produce the greatest impact for ministry. It has become clear that with the acquisition of 18,000 square feet of space in 1710, we do not have a foreseeable use for 8,000 square feet in 1716. Therefore, Session voted to sell the building in April of 2019. Trustees, aided by the Real Estate Committee*, have been working to present an offer for the sale of 1716 to the congregation for a vote. We currently have an offer for $2.3 million, which represents a good return for Tenth, since we paid $1.8 million in 2012. The proceeds will go to retire the mortgage of $1.36 million. How the remaining balance will be used is still under consideration.

Session is considering various alternatives for the use of 315, which include using it for Maranatha and after-school programs. However, we are proceeding cautiously, as the capital outlay to reconfigure 315 could be significant, and we have a large amount of deferred maintenance that must be done on the sanctuary. So this, as well as the sale of 1716, are matters for prayer. Please ask the Lord to provide a smooth sale of 1716 and wisdom on how to best utilize 315 and also maintain our sanctuary and adjacent buildings.

September 8 Congregational Forum

For more information on the sale of 1716, a congregational forum will be held on Sunday, September 8, 2019, 12:30 PM, in the Catacombs. Trustees will provide a brief report regarding the recommendation of the Session to sell the 1716 Spruce Street building. Members of the Trustees and members of the Real Estate Committee will be present to address questions and comments.

* The Real Estate Committee consists of Clive Stockdale (former chair of Trustees), Emily
Withers (Center City realtor), Douglas Baker (church administrator), and Bill Langford
(current chair of Trustees).

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