Wednesday, June 3, 2015

From Donny Smith- Mayfair Civic Assoc Regarding the Devon Theatre

To clear up any confusion and to hopefully answer as many questions as as I can, below is a "Devon Timeline" of sorts
The Mayfair CDC (previous administration) purchased the Devon and completely restored it to the beautiful building that it is today. It was restored and zoned to be used as a theater, and at that time it was operating as such. Its restoration was intended to revitalize Frankford avenue, and to bring the arts to Mayfair and surrounding neighborhoods.
Sadly, the CDC lost the Devon due to lack of funding, and the CDC returned the Devon back to the bank in lieu of foreclosure
The bank sold the Devon well below market value in February of 2014. It was valued at over $1.5 million dollars, however it was purchased for $487,500. by The Devon Frankford LLC / Mark Riscioli
The exact arrangements are complicated, however it appears as though Riscioli sold the Devon to Kingdom Life Christian Center in December 2014 for $500,000., however the mortgage is for $950,000.
Mark Riscioli is now the former owner of the Devon, however he is now acting as the banker and is holding the mortgage
The Kingdom Life Christian Center, after signing the agreement with Riscioli and finalizing the deal, apparently then discovered that the Devon was not zoned to be used as a church, and it required a Special Exception from the Philadelphia Zoning Board in order to be in compliance.
The Kingdom Life Christian Center went to Councilman Henon for help in getting zoning approval, and Councilman Henon's office contacted the Mayfair Civic Association (the coordinating Registered Community Organization or RCO) to set up a meeting.
On February 28th, The Kingdom Life Christian Center held a "Building Dedication" at the Devon.
The Kingdom Life Christian Center has opened and is currently operating a Food Bank at the Devon location
Without the proper zoning in place, The Kingdom Life Christian Center is currently operating illegally at the Devon
A meeting was held at the Devon and it included representatives from the Mayfair CDC (new administration), Mayfair Civic Association, representatives from the Kingdom Life Christian Center, and representatives from Councilman Henon's office. Since Mayfair currently has several Daycare facilities located along Frankford avenue which Mayfair orgs. are working hard to revitalize, and a Food Bank already in operation at St. Johns church on Tyson avenue, Mayfair representatives asked the Kingdom Life Christian Center to withdraw from using the Devon as a Daycare Facility, or as a Food Bank Center. During the meeting, Mayfair representatives also asked Kingdom Life Christian Center to allow the Devon to become a polling location, to keep the Devon marquee in place, and to allow community usage of the Devon (school plays etc) up to 12 times a year.
During follow up conversations and meetings, the Kingdom Life Christian Center agreed to allow the Devon to become a polling location up to 2 times a year, and to keep the marquee intact, however the church felt that the 12 times community usage was excessive, and the church refused Mayfair's requests to refrain from opening another Daycare center on Frankford avenue, or another Food Bank in Mayfair
On Sunday May 31st, there was a "Grand Re-Opening" titled "The Broadway On The Delaware". The organizer of this event had an arrangement with the Kingdom Life Christian Center for this event, and there are no guarantees that these performances will continue in the future.
The Mayfair Civic Association is hosting a Special Zoning Meeting on Monday June 15th at 7:30pm at the Mayfair Community Center. During this meeting, Mayfair Civic Association Members and neighbors residing in the immediate RCO's will have the opportunity to voice their opinions, and to vote on this issue.
The Kingdom Life Christian Center is scheduled to appear before the Philadelphia Zoning Board on June 23rd 2015 to obtain the Special Exception required to legally operate. Part of the requirement needed to obtain proper zoning approval will be for the Kingdom Life Christian Center to be able to provide 1 parking spot for every 10 seats at the Devon. The Devon has approximately 440 seats. This would require the Kingdom Life Christian Center to provide no less than 44 off street parking spots. All residents are invited to this hearing as well.

1 comment:

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