Village of St. John
City of Wilmington
Historic Church Renovation is a Catalyst for Change
Formerly a church, Village of St. John includes 53 affordable units and is a driving force in the revitalization of a once-declining area.
Caring for Seniors in the Brandywine Village Community
The Village of St. John provides seniors with safe, comfortable, and affordable housing.
The Village of St. John is a senior rental housing project with 53 one- and two-bedroom affordable units, that revived and restored an entire community and brought back the grandeur of the Cathedral of St. John. The church was built in 1858 with gothic revival architecture and has been a fixture in the Brandywine Village community for over 100 years! Additionally, the famed Choir School of Delaware is housed on the property.
The project site was the home of the Cathedral of St. John for over 160 years and has been part of Delaware history since the Swedes settled in the area. After the creation of the Dean’s house and establishment of the Cathedral Choir School of Delaware in 1919, the Cathedral enjoyed many vibrant and bustling years of activity. However, over the years parishioners dwindled, families moved away, and the neighborhood declined, resulting in the Cathedral’s closure in 2012. The Brandywine Village community experienced decline in the retail businesses on Market street and the upkeep and security of vacant properties.
Started in 2017 and completed in 2019, the Village of St. John is now a vital catalyst for change in the Brandywine Village community. This neighborhood offers residents an urban and suburban feel with a lot of eateries and public parks close by. The downtown business district is within walking distance of Brandywine Village residents. This is a well-established community that continues to attract interest for not just renters but also homeowners.
The Village of St. John serves the seniors of the Brandywine Village community, providing affordable housing units and giving them the support to help them to age in place in a most beautiful setting.
The creation of the Village of St. John would not have been possible without the team efforts of the Ministry of Caring, Sacred Heart Housing, Cinnaire, Architectural Alliance, Domus Construction, and development consultants Danielle Sullivan and NCALL. Crucial funding for the project was provided by the State of Delaware, Delaware State Housing Authority, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, New Castle County, City of Wilmington, TD Bank, the Weinberg Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Longwood Foundation, Welfare Foundation, the DuPont Company, Crystal Trust, Capital One, Laffey-McHugh Foundation, Raskob Foundation, Polly Holiday, Chichester duPont Foundation, Delaware Community Foundation, WSFS, Artisans’ Bank, Christ Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware, and a host of other generous individuals. Two other major funding sources – the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service and Delaware State Historic Preservation Office – both provided substantial Historic Tax Credit Equity, related to preservation of historic structures and features at the site.
|LIHTC (if applicable)||$8,401,638|
|Other Federal Funds||$1,908,799|
|Other Public Funds||$8,858,751|
|Total Project Costs||$22,827,623|
Participating Jurisdiction: City of Wilmington
Project: Village of St. John
Location: Wilmington, DE
Program Type: Rental Housing
Beneficiaries: Low- to moderate-income seniors, homeless individuals, and persons with disabilities.
Number of Units: 53
Number of HOME Units: 5
This project provided a much-needed facelift and revitalization to the Brandywine Village community which had been in a state of decline for a number of years. The renovation of the historic church provides 53 safe, comfortable, and affordable housing units for seniors in the community.
Words of Advice
Be vigilant! There were many challenges and obstacles during the redevelopment of this historic property. Brother Ronald Giannone has always said, “The poor should not be treated poorly” and he never gave up! His drive and commitment are nothing short of amazing.