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Fishtown residents vote against turning closed church into apartments

Fishtown residents have voted against a plan to turn the shuttered St Laurentius Church into apartments.

The vote followed what was described as a contentious meeting in the basement of the nearby Holy Name Church.

The local vote was for residents who live within 500 feet of the 135-year-old church, which the Archdiocese of Philadelphia closed in 2014 due to structural problems.

The vote is not binding. The city zoning board has the final say. A meeting is set for Nov. 1.

Developer Leo Voloshin is proposing preserving the exterior of the church and building 23 one-bedroom apartments inside. The Archdiocese sold him the building for $1.

As PlanPhilly notes, opponents to the apartment plan want to preserve the church are  "advocating for alternative uses which would keep the building's spectacular interiors more intact."

The building was saved from demolition last year when the city Historical Commission voted to give the structure historic status.