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Tabernacle Today




Although experiencing significant decline in membership during the last decade, Tabernacle remains an integral part of the West Philadelphia community. Our aim is to provide a holistic ministry that addresses both the physical and the spiritual needs of people of all ages.

At present, Tabernacle hosts a number of community based programs including a Head Start preschool, a Weight Watchers support group, two Narcotics Anonymous support groups, and a Food Bank. In addition, the church also provides space for private parties, various community group meetings and serves as the home base for a community based gospel choir.

STRUCTURAL CHALLENGES

Unfortunately, a long standing structural problem is threatening to end our ability to do ministry in this location. A deteriorating foundation has caused a section of the church to literally sink, and if left uncorrected could render our building unusable. Needless to say, we have been actively seeking to find a feasible solution to this problem, and we believe that a possible solution has been identified.

In March 2013, a group of concerned business leaders led by a former member of our church, proposed that we enter into a joint venture partnership with them to construct an 80,000 square ft, mixed use building on our site, that would house a 60 unit, assisted living facility for seniors, our church, and space to be leased to a commercial vendor. It is envisioned that the proposed facility will provide a viable solution to the church’s ongoing structural problem while also providing a much needed resource to the residents of the West Philadelphia community.

BACKGROUND

Due to faulty construction performed after a devastating fire in 1969, the foundation that lies beneath the section of our building that houses our sanctuary and several classrooms is literally sinking. This situation is apparently the result of the continued deterioration of the foundation material that was used during its construction in 1971.

Although there was significant evidence of structural problems in our building, the actual foundation problem was not discovered until May 2008. After investigating a series of unexplained leaks in our church, it was determined that the sewer pipe located under the hallway that is adjacent to our sanctuary had ruptured.

Due to the poor condition of the floor located in the area surrounding the sewer pipe, a geotechnical engineer was contacted and asked to perform a soil test in the area that was sinking. As a result of the findings, it was determined that the ground filler that was used at the time that the building was constructed was not suitable for this use, and had continued to deteriorate over time, thereby causing the foundation to shift, several walls to crack, and the main sewer pipe to rupture. From all indications, the foundation in the area around the sewer pipe has continued to sink over the years, and if not fixed properly, could cause the entire building to be unusable within a few years.

This development team was tasked with trying to identify a financially feasible solution that would correct the structural problem while providing a much needed resource to the members of the community.

, the members of the development team concluded that any proposed solution should be holistic and seek to address not only Tabernacle’s structural problem, but also its need for financial sustainability. Most importantly, the proposed solution must also provide a community resource that would improve the quality of life of the residents living in the surrounding community.

With this goal in mind, the development team believes that the best course of action to take is to build a state of the art facility that will be an economic generator for the local community and the future home of the Tabernacle Lutheran Church. It is proposed that an 80,000 square feet, mixed use facility be constructed on the space where the church and parking lot are currently located. The proposed new construction would include spade for the following:

- 60 apartments for a growing population of low income senior residents
- approximately 10,000 square feet of renovated space to house our sanctuary, meeting rooms, and Parish hall
- space for 4 pre- school classrooms, meeting rooms, and a full service kitchen.
- Additional space to be leased to a commercial tenant.