The Daily Pulse:

Fate of Walnut Street buildings before MPC on Thursday

The Metropolitan Planning Commission's monthly meeting, tomorrow at 1:30 at the Main Assembly Room of the City County Building, promises to be more interesting than some.

St. John's Episcopal Cathedral has proposed demolishing two 1920s buildings at 710 and 712 Walnut Street. Both are brick buildings, one two-story, the other three, opposite the library. Both have seen many uses over the years, including office and residential; both are currently vacant.

These would be the first intact pre-war buildings demolished downtown in more than eight years; the last was Home Federal's demolition of the Sprankle Building, two blocks away. The church owns the Walnut Street buildings, but has not disclosed specific plans for the property, beyond improvements to a second driveway into their parking lot, to improve automobile access to the back of the church.

Citing continued demand for downtown residences and a rapidly dwindling supply of available historic buildings, a prominent preservationist developer has proposed an alternate use of the buildings as residences, by a plan that could be profitable to the church.

The Downtown Design Review Board declined the church's proposal last month. That denial is being appealed before MPC.

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