Chris Mohr, Executive Director of Friends Center, recently announced that Friends Center Corporation has entered into an agreement with Friends Select School to sell Friends Center’s 1520 Race Street building. The building, which stands on the west side of the courtyard, will be renovated by Friends Select and used for classroom and administrative space. Head of School, Michael Gary, shared the news of the purchase agreement in an email to the Friends Select community last week:
We are delighted to announce that we are currently expanding Friends Select’s campus with the purchase of the building located at 1520 Race Street, and we are simultaneously undergoing a major transformation of the first floor of our main building located at 17th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Working with James Bradberry Architects, the Advance Friends Select: Transformation Campaign will create state-of-the-art classrooms to match the high quality of our educational program, adding much-needed space where excellence in teaching and learning will surely continue.
Since 2000 and again in 2017, Friends Center had sought ways to add ADA accessibility and other features to the 1520 Race Street building to make it more serviceable to the community while preserving its unique exterior.
Meanwhile, Friends Select had embarked on a search for more space to meet their growing needs. Chris Mohr and Michael Gary soon understood that their needs and vision for the property could actually overlap. As Chris wrote in a message to Friends Center tenants:
Together we explored various options to use the entire facility, and now we have an agreement in place.
Not only will this approach accomplish our goals for the building, it will also deepen the relationship between Friends Select and the organizations here at Friends Center. As you may know, the school is under the care of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, and they have meeting for worship and graduation in the Race Street Meetinghouse. Expanding to 1520 Race Street will enable them to add space for their high school program and administrative staff.
Friends Center anticipates closing the transaction in late spring or early summer, after which Friends Select will initiate construction with a goal to complete the project before the 2022-2023 academic year. Current tenants at 1520 Race Street have been offered relocated office space within Friends Center’s 1501 Cherry Street building.
The Friends Child Care Center, founded at Friends Center over 40 years ago, is working with Friends Center to construct a new child care facility on the lower level of the 1501 Cherry Street building. Their move will allow the Child Care Center to realize a vision of more space and a purpose-built facility.
The above photograph documents cheers upon the signing of the purchase agreement. Representatives present from Friends Center and Friends Select are listed below from left to right:
- Matt Rosen, Director of Financial Operations, Friends Select School
- Linell McCurry, Board Clerk, Friends Center
- Chris Mohr, Executive Director, Friends Center
- Ingrid Lakey, Board Clerk, Friends Select School
- Michael Gary, Head of School, Friends Select School