It's not clear what's in store for the property, which includes the church, a former rectory and a convent. The church was built on Spring Garden Street near 11th in 1848-49 by architect Patrick Charles Keely. It was placed on the historic register because it was consecrated by former Bishop John Neumann and was the church where Katharine Drexel was baptized. Neumann and Drexel later became saints.
McGuire wouldn't disclose the sale price and Wei, who reportedly owns a number of other properties in the Chinatown North/Callowhill neighborhood south of the church, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
When the Board of Licenses and Inspections Review overturned the commission's demolition permit, Siloam went to court to pursue demolition because the agency didn't have the money to renovate it, McGuire said.
McGuire, who also is a nun with the Sisters of Mercy, said she had been saddened by the decision to seek demolition.
"I would certainly want to save a church," McGuire said. "But when we saw the condition of this church and the amount of money it would take to bring it up to code, it would be a real challenge."
McGuire said Siloam is renting its office space, in the old church rectory, from the new owner, while Siloam looks for a new location.
Sarah McEneaney, president of the Callowhill Neighborhood Association, which led the anti-demolition fight, said yesterday that her group wrote to Wei to congratulate him on buying the property. The group also told him they were eager to learn what his plans are for the site.
Andy Palewski, who lives near the church and is a member of the Callowhill group, said he hopes the new owner is aware that the property is on the historic register and knows that the community will fight its being torn down.
And Andrew Toy, a project manager for the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corp., said PCDC would be willing to work with Wei to help him secure tax credits if he plans to preserve at least the facade of the church building.
Toy said Wei owns several buildings in the area and is an entrepreneur: "We think he's a decent guy."
Contact Valerie Russ at 215-854-5987 or email@example.com.