Groundbreaking for new Mormon temple in Center City

CENTER CITY - September 17, 2011

What is to come is a $70 million, 60,0000 square foot temple made of granite, in a neo-classical style flanked by two large spires.

To the west of this future temple, lays the Family Courts building and to the south, the Roman Catholic Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

"We wanted to build a Temple that looked like it fit in Philadelphia. It will be unique, we think it will be a lovely addition to the city," said William Walker.

Mayor Michael Nutter joined in tossing ceremonial dirt.

The mayor is also glad that last year's legal battle with the onetime property owner that threatened the project is now history.

"Well any big development often will have its moments but we were always focused to get this done," said Mayor Nutter.

For Mormon's, temples are not places for large public gatherings, like a cathedral, rather it is a place for specific private ceremonies for only those considered worthy.

"We have meeting houses scattered all over the city, and anyone of any faith go and visit. A temple is different structure, that as you said only members of good standing can enter, it is so sacred," said Jay Jenson.

The project hopes employ 300 construction workers and attract many more visitors to the city.

It is expected to take about two and a half to three years to complete the temple.

Once finished, there will be an open house, the public will be able to tour the temple, and then it will be formally dedicated and opened only to Mormons in good standing.

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