The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Gateway Plaza on the LTSP campus on Friday, April 11 at 1 pm. The groundbreaking will commence a $3 million project that will create the only public square on the Germantown Avenue commercial corridor in Mt Airy, and will link The Lutheran Theological Seminary campus to the thriving Mt. Airy Business District. The project will also bring the headquarters of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to Mt. Airy. The synod, including over 180 congregations in Southeastern Pennsylvania and presided over by Bishop The Rev. Claire Burkat, has been attracted to the economic vitality of the Germantown corridor, the seminary’s new Brossman Conference Center, and the famous diversity of the Mt. Airy community. The synod offices are currently in Norristown, PA. The ceremony will be held on the LTSP campus, 7301 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, and members of the community are encouraged to attend. (photos show architect's rendering of the Plaza and the current space on the LTSP campus)
This ambitious project will integrate the campus with the surrounding community and provide much needed public open space. The current wall along Germantown Avenue will be opened at the campus' southernmost point, and a public gateway promenade and plaza will provide an inviting access point for the community directly onto the campus. Grading enhancements at the site of the plaza will expose an undercroft-level entrance to the chapel where publicly accessible space for the bishop’s offices will contribute to business and jobs along this commercial corridor. Project plans for the gateway plaza include new lighting, public benches, plantings, and general beautification and enhancement of the façade along historic Germantown Avenue, ensuring that the streetscape modifications encourage public use. When completed, the chapel structure, abutting the new plaza, will look like a Gothic cathedral with a public square.
Representatives of the seminary and synod will be joined at the groundbreaking by dignitaries from the community and region to celebrate this latest addition to the vibrant Northwest Philadelphia community. Philadelphia Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller, whose Eighth Council District includes the seminary, will be thanked for her efforts to bring the Plaza project to realization.