Villa Chapel

1pm Easter Sunday Parade for the Villa Chapel

Apr 03 2014

Join chapel supporters at the corner of West 9th and Liberty Streets at 1pm on Easter Sunday, April 20th to see the reuse plans for the chapel, to hear the latest news about the 80% owners (H.A.N.D.S) and to enjoy a short parade featuring hand-made rabbits.

ErieReader essay on the effort to save the Villa Chapel

Apr 02 2014

Pick up the April 2 issue of the ErieReader, turn to page 11 and read the Civitas essay, "Considering the City: Fighting to Save the Villa Chapel."

Penrose Properties has sold its 80% share.

Apr 05 2014

Mark Dambly, the C.E.O. of Penrose Properties, has confirmed that his company has sold their 80% share of the Villa Chapel to H.A.N.D.S. This is troubling news, as H.A.N.D.S. reported to the Sisters of Saint Joseph that they were unsuccessful in pursuing funds to renovate the Villa Chapel. Dambly offered to contact H.A.N.D.S. C.E.O., Chuck Scalise to find out his plans for the chapel.

Who owns the chapel now?

Feb 15 2014

The Erie Times News realty transfer news seems to indicate that the chapel has new owners. Stay tuned.

Still waiting patiently on H.A.N.D.S.

Feb 05 2014

Last Spring, after nine years of effort, all three Villa Chapel owners were ready to sign an agreement with the non-profit Preservation Erie to allow efforts to stabilize and re-purpose the building to move forward. The primary owners, Penrose Properties of Philadelphia (80%) had been willing for almost a decade. The managing group and 10% owners, H.A.N.D.S. - Housing and Neighborhood Development Service - said they would sign as soon as the other 10% owners agreed - the S.S.J. (Sisters of Saint Joseph.) But, and after almost two decades of stating the impossibility of reusing the chapel, the C.E.O. of H.A.N.D.S., Mr. Chuck Scalise, reportedly asked the Sisters to delay signing while he pursued the idea of renovating the chapel into four apartments.

Follow Villa Chapel on Facebook

Feb 02 2014

Save the Villa Chapel Facebook page:

WJET Channel 24 Interview: Philadelphia Architect Richard Olaya, Sept. 9

Sep 11 2011

Richard Olaya, principal of Olaya Studio, toured the Villa Chapel and told WJET, channel 24, that the chapel "is a gem" and that "this kind of building cannot be replicated today." Olaya said the unique chapel is "one of a kind, worth keeping." An experienced architect, Olaya's reuse projects include renovation of a historic nursing home, an auditorium at Howard University, barracks at Fort Dix and a museum in Santa Fe. He also designed a Center for Culture and Community for a historic Methodist Church. Olaya has also designed additions to a Christian Camp in Upper Moreland Township, PA, and apartments in Philadelphia and Newark. These varied experiences informed his work with volunteers at the planning session for the Villa Chapel sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation PA and the Erie Center for Design and Preservation. Link -

5th Annual Croquet & Tea: September 17

Sep 11 2011

The 5th Annual Croquet & Tea fundraiser for the Villa Chapel will be held from 1-4 on Saturday afternoon, September 17, 2011. Come enjoy friendly competition and spirited play against the backdrop of beautiful Gridley Park at Liberty and West 6th. Croquet coaches will guide players on seven courts. Elaborate themed baskets available for Chinese Auction. Tickets are five dollars and may be purchased at the event. A children’s court is provided at no charge. For more information contact Sheila Murray, 453-6401

Erie Times News: "Planning session held for Villa Chapel" p. B1

Sep 10 2011

Architects from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were among a group that toured the Villa Chapel on Friday and took part in a daylong session to find a "viable, sustainable and appropriate" reuse for the unused chapel. The design-plan session, called a charrette, was co-hosted by the Erie Center for Design & Preservation. After, members of the group presented five possible plans for the use of the chapel, including a mixed-use building, for further study. The Save the Villa Chapel Committee formed to prevent demolition of the building. The committee has raised more than $20,000, part of which was used for temporary roof repairs on the chapel; to start a website; and to fund the charrette. Tax- deductible donations can be sent to the Villa Chapel Fund, c/o Erie Center for Design and Preservation, P.O. Box 1856, Erie, PA 16507. Supporters also are encouraged to attend the Fifth Annual Save The Villa Chapel Croquet and Tea at Gridley Park, West Sixth and Liberty streets, on Sept. 17th from 1 to 4 p.m.

Reuse Plans for Chapel Created

Sep 09 2011

On Friday, Sept. 9 a large group toured the historic Villa Chapel, courtesy of HANDS – the Housing and Neighborhood Development Service. Four architects from Erie, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia along with board members from the Erie Center for Design and Preservation and Erin Hammersted (a Field Representative from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Preservation Pennsylvania) were present. In several areas of the chapel, plaster has fallen away to reveal the interior brick walls. Though the roof needs repairs, the structure is clearly stable. Despite the dust, the group saw great potential. Meeting in the community room at Temple Anshe Hesed, 25 volunteers worked with architects for five hours to create reuse designs. Possibilities suggested include: a child and adult day care service, a multi-use performing and visual arts center appropriate for weddings, a restaurant, and a 24 unit studio apartment complex. Adaptive reuse of the Villa Chapel promises to be an asset to the neighborhood by providing short-term renovation jobs and long-term employment and services from a business or non-profit housed in the chapel. Architect Jeff Kidder will be presenting several of the proposals at a press conference in October.