Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses and Inspections on Wednesday issued a zoning permit for an eight-story multifamily residential building at the site of St. Laurentius Church, the historic Fishtown landmark that will be demolished.

According to plans submitted to the city, the owner, developer Humberto Fernandini of 1600 Berks LLC, intends to replace the brownstone church built in 1882 with a building that has more than 45,000 square foot and 49 residential units at the corner of Berks and Memphis Streets. The building will feature 17 bicycle parking spaces and ground-floor automated parking for 15 vehicles.

» READ MORE: L&I grants demolition permit for Fishtown’s St. Laurentius Church

L&I issued a demolition permit for the church in September, agreeing with the owner’s engineers that the entire building — and not just the soaring twin spires that define Fishtown’s skyline — is structurally unstable and in danger of collapse. That decision followed years of efforts by some community members and the city to preserve the church and years of requests by the owner to tear it down.

The former Roman Catholic church was built using donations from 19th-century Polish immigrants. It will be demolished almost entirely by hand because of its proximity to rowhouses and a school.

» READ MORE: St. Laurentius sold to new developer

Plans by a former developer to preserve the church, which holds a spot on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, and convert it into apartments fell through. When the current owner bought the site in January 2020, he said he would try to preserve the building and convert the interior into apartments or offices.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia closed the church in 2014 after engineers said the building was unsafe.

When the Philadelphia Historical Commission approved demolition of the church’s deteriorating 150-foot towers last year, it required the church’s facade to be retained or rebuilt in any new development. That requirement remains, a spokesperson for the commission said in September after the city issued the permit for full demolition.