Today we are releasing our 200 page recourse document which was received by the Vatican.
The contractor and engineer for the parishioners interested in saving St. Laurentius Church gave an initial estimate cost of $650,000 for all repairs needed for the church. The Phase I repair cost is estimated between $150,000 and $200,000 for the immediate repairs required by the Violation Notice of the City of Philadelphia. Phase II repair costs estimated between $450,000 and $500,000 could be collected over a period of 10 or more years allowing for planned giving to repair the rest of the church as our finance plan describes.
The $3.5 million estimate from the Archdiocese assumes that the towers are in need of repair.
1. On March 26, 2014 a meeting was held with representatives of Holy Name of Jesus Parish, the Archdiocese, and the City of Philadelphia. It was asked several times, “Was St. Laurentius Church in imminent danger of collapse?”. Repeatedly, the answer was “NO”.
2. No one who represented the Archdiocese had physically inspected the inside of the church, specifically the towers. The engineering firm hired by the Archdiocese only looked at the towers from the ground level outside the church. They made their assessment of the towers without a full inspection.
3. No comprehensive survey was done at that time, nor has it been done to determine the location and extent of the types of masonry defects
4. This same engineering firm never brought a contractor through the church for pricing the possible options for the building. The costs presented in their report were only estimates based on little if any information.
5. The Archdiocese had not contacted any contractors for other proposals, which is the usual norm
6. O’Donnell Naccarato claimed the top of the tower was apporiximately 6″ off vertical. What the engineers failed to realize was the method of construction done in the mid 1800’s. The builders used optical illusion to make towers look higher. They narrowed the circumference of the turret as they went higher. It is this architectural illlusion that the engineers incorrectly identified as a dangerous leaning of the towers of St. Laurentius Church.
7. When questioned, O’Donnell Naccarato admitted they had not done an internal or external inspection of the towers of the church. As a result added costs now made their proposals extremely expensive.
8. St. Laurentius convent recently sold for around $350,000. The convent was built using donations from St. Laurentius parishioners. The Archdiocese stated that the funds from this sale could not be used to repair the church, but could only be used towards demolition.
9. Holy Name’s convent is currently under agreement with Aquinas Realty group. This agreement was signed a day before Holy Name Parish merged with St. Laurentius Parish. The convent was never put on the market publicly, and Aquinas is buying the property for way under market value. The agreement was extended by 18 months and expires on June 10th. Holy Name has been paying to maintain this property for 2 years while it is under agreement. The agreement stipulates that Aquinas can decide whether or not to purchase the property until the agreement expires. If they decide not to buy, all escrow funds are returned to them.