We have been on a twisting, winding and thoroughly surprising journey these last six months. I can’t say it has always been fun, but it has been interesting. We thought we were coming to the end of the journey last year when we signed a lease at 2000 Hamilton Street in the Logan Square neighborhood. We signed the lease in good faith based on the landlord’s professional estimate for renovations. Everything was set—until the bids from contractors came in at 300% above the landlord’s estimates. We explored a number of options to overcome the 300% increase in cost, but in the final analysis, this was not feasible.

The Relocation Taskforce (real estate attorneys, consultants, architects, brokers, board members with real estate experience, and MISSIO leadership) launched a vigorous search for a new site—and God was faithful. After extensive visits to various properties, we are delighted to announce that we have signed a lease for the top floor (or as I call it, the Penthouse) at 421 N. 7th Street in Philadelphia.

Our Strategic Plan (2015-2020) called for MISSIO to be in Philadelphia by 2020 and we will hit our target date. I am excited that the majority our Fall 2019 classes will be in the Penthouse of the Electric Factory (for logistical reasons the ACS and ThM courses will remain in Hatfield for the Fall). God has been faithful indeed. I am reminded of the quote from Antonio Brown who said: “The journey is never ending. There’s always gonna be growth, improvement, adversity; you just gotta take it all in and do what’s right, continue to grow.” Amen Antonio.

I want to highlight a few exciting things about this location:

  • 421 N. 7th Street is centrally located in the heart of Philadelphia and has easy access from highways 95 and 676.
  • The building has multiple public transit options including the Market-Frankford Line, the Broad Street line, and multiple bus routes.
  • The neighborhood, traditionally called Callowhill, where the building is located is a dynamic neighborhood tucked between Chinatown, Old City, Northern Liberties, and Poplar.
  • There are multiple paid and free parking options within short walking distance to the new location.
  • The building is a beautiful industrial space being re-imagined as a creative, artistic, and start-up space. The 7th floor is the top floor of the building and has many cool industrial features, including stunning views of the city.
  • The building originally was the General Electric Switchgear Plant and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. More recently the music venue, adjacent to the main building, “The Electric Factory,” was a prominent music venue known throughout the city and is now called Franklin Music Hall and operated by Bowery Presents.

We are incredibly thankful that the Lord has provided this building and that the building owners are already hard at work fixing up the 7th floor. We are excited that our students, faculty, and staff will have a top-notch educational space in Philadelphia where they can learn together, grow deeper in Christ, and be sent out on his mission. We believe this new location will help us fulfill our mission to be Philadelphia’s Seminary and the first choice for training missional leaders for the church of the 21st century.

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