Dear members of the Old First community,
Progress on Old First House is moving quickly forward despite some challenges.
After Community Ventures’ presentation to the congregation in April, we received approval from the Philadelphia Historical Commission on the final design pending final material review by Historical Commission staff.
In May, we received an initial cost estimate that was significantly over our budget. To save costs, we had to make some cost savings decisions, which Community Ventures reviewed with the Joint Ventures Ministry Team. Some budget cuts like losing a full basement are unfortunate, but overall, we are confident that the necessary changes leave us with a smarter building.
We are now also in the process of seeking additional funding from current and new funders.
Despite current budget challenges, we are moving quickly forward.
We are currently starting the competitive bidding process to identify a general contractor and final construction budget. The bid documents were shared with 13 general contractors who meet the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation’s cost containment standards. Community Ventures will be meeting at the church next Tuesday with interested General Contractors. The contractors proposals all need to be returned to Community Ventures by October 11 and Community Ventures plans to have a general contractor selected by the end of October. As Michael requested on a post about this on the Church’s Facebook page, “This is a crucial step in the process of moving towards breaking ground, and prayers can’t hurt— pray that we receive a construction bid within our budget!”
There have also been some slight changes to the lobby of the residence required by the building code and the fact that this is where the new building is closest to the sanctuary building.
In essence, the lobby has been simplified and the lobby entrance by the doors to the Social Hall has been eliminated. This means the main entrance to the residence will be on 4th Street. Residents will have a lobby exit to the back courtyard that they could use to get to the walkway between Old First House and the Sanctuary building. But in the new design, more traffic will be kept on 4th and the walkway between the buildings will be less public.
At this point, construction looks like it will start most likely around Easter.
We will continue to write updates over the next several months as we progress towards this project finally becoming a built reality.
– Community Ventures