Philadelphia Org Curtain Tech

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by Enturbuleak, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. Enturbuleak Member

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  2. Anonymous Member

    I wonder if that's a trend. The Downtown Seattle branch, though the windows are unblocked, is similarly opaque; a false wall with three or four basic books mounted on it and a massive desk right at the entrance that takes up most of this small area. It looks for all the world like a porn shop. Do they think it looks more mysterious that way or did the usual pyramidal displays of LRH 's head boil volcanoes prove inadequate to pull in the crowds? Right now it just looks creepy and uninviting. Like that site above.
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  4. Rod Keller Member

    Well, it's an embarrassment of an org. But it's our org. I would have liked to picket there, but there's almost no foot traffic. About half are heading for the homeless shelter a block away. Imagine how exciting it will be when our Ideal Org opens. See how grand it is?

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  5. The Wrong Guy Member

    Guiding blight |

    By Jason Nark, Daily News Staff Writer

    The Church of Scientology spent tens of millions of dollars, maybe more, on its massive, new spiritual headquarters in Florida, and all Philly got in the last six years was a piece of plywood with splotches of brown paint on it.

    Earlier this month, church leader David Miscavige - who grew up in Burlington and Delaware counties - was joined by Scientology stars Tom Cruise and John Travolta in downtown Clearwater to cut the ribbon on the 377,000-square-foot "Flag Building."

    Meanwhile, Philadelphia's Department of Licenses & Inspections intends to take the church to Blight Court over the tall, vacant building across from Macy's near 13th and Chestnut streets that has sat empty for more than six years. The church purchased the 15-story former Cunningham Piano building in 2007 for $7.85 million and laid out detailed plans for the "Philadelphia Freedom Org" on, including a chapel, a bookstore and even an office for Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, who died in 1986.

    "At fifteen stories in height, The Freedom Org is the Church's first 'skyscraper,' a shining example of the religion that can and does secure Total Freedom for all," the website proclaims.

    No work had been done there when the Daily News contacted the church in 2011 for a profile on Miscavige, although spokeswoman Karin Pouw said that interior designs were finished and construction documents were being completed. Miscavige, who still roots for Philly sports teams, would attend a ribbon-cutting if his schedule permitted, Pouw added.

    "We hope to commence renovations toward the end of 2012 for a spring 2013 opening," Pouw wrote in an email Dec. 13, 2011.

    On Monday, the building looked much the same as it did two years ago, except for the plywood that covered a large street-level window. A battered, metal call box sat open by the door with wires dangling out. Inside the dark foyer, cardboard boxes were crumpled atop one another.

    "I don't understand what's going on there," said Paul Levy, president of the Center City District. "It's obviously a free country, and they bought the building, but here we are six years later, and they've done nothing. It's not only not contributing to the street and acting to the detriment to the city, it's also not a tax revenue."

    One of Miscavige's biggest accomplishments at the helm of Scientology was gaining tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service in 1993. Levy said the Chestnut Street building has a market value of $7.3 million.

    Last week, Pouw said the Philadelphia Ideal Org "is definitely on the lineup, but planning changes have necessitated completing other projects first." She also said planning and construction documents are "in progress" for the building "and about 50 other properties internationally."

    Rebecca Swanson, a spokeswoman for L&I, said the Church of Scientology has obtained no permits for construction on the property and has been in violation of the city's "doors-and-windows" ordinance since January for having "multiple boarded windows."

    As a result of the outstanding violation, Swanson said, the city is sending Scientology to Blight Court, a municipal-court hearing that could result in fines of up to $300 per day for each boarded opening.

    "The property owner has failed to comply [with] the violation, despite notice from L&I, and the building remains a blighting influence on the block and the neighborhood," Swanson said.

    In an email yesterday, Pouw said the church would address the window issue soon. She wrote that a "single window that a workman temporarily repaired with plywood" was "hardly news."

    "[A]n occasional broken window is an occupational hazard when one undertakes the kind of extensive building restoration projects in major urban areas that we do," Pouw wrote.

    Scientology critics say the church purchases "Ideal Org" buildings around the world through constant fundraising efforts, but that most are empty because the church allegedly exaggerates its numbers.

    Even if an adequate building is already in use, "the locals are put under intense pressure to raise millions of dollars to purchase a historic building for a new Ideal Org," said Tony Ortega, a journalist who has been writing about Scientology since 1995. "After the property is secured, there's then another round of fundraising to raise millions more for renovations."

    The Daily News reached out to six top donors on a list of more than 200 contributors on the Philadelphia Freedom Org website, but none returned calls seeking comment.

    Pouw said Scientology has 10,000 adherents in the Philadelphia area, where a smaller building on Race Street near 13th is still in use by the church. One former church member who lived in Philly for 25 years and asked not to be identified said fewer than 100 Scientologists were active in the city.

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  6. The Wrong Guy Member

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  7. The Wrong Guy Member

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  8. Rod Keller Member

    L&I has bigger fish to fry with the building collapse scandal. I suspect this is the last we will see, but I can always hope.
  9. The Wrong Guy Member

    Trouble in Philadephia | The Underground Bunker

    By Tony Ortega

    We heard this week from Jason Nark at, who wondered if we remembered him. Of course we remembered his excellent portrayal of David Miscavige, which delved into the Scientology leader’s beginnings in South Philly. We’ve cited it numerous times here at the blog since Nark first published it.

    He contacted us for his latest story, this one reporting on the city of Philadelphia fighting Scientology over its empty “Ideal Org” building, which has been awaiting renovations for years. Nark wanted some background on the Ideal Org program, and we sent him a lengthy reply. He was good enough to pull out a short quote for his story.

    We thought we’d go ahead and publish the rest of what we sent him, since it was the first time we’ve tried to put down an overview like this of Miscavige’s obsession.

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  10. The Wrong Guy Member

    In the last paragraph of this article there are two links, the first of which points to the WWP thread titled DM, The High School years.

    L&I Is Taking Scientology To Blight Court Because They Didn’t Build That Creepy HQ They Promised

    Do you see that monolith on the right? That’s a shining beacon to the Church of Scientology that could be gracing Chestnut Street right now. Wouldn’t that be … something? It’d certainly be a fun thing to point to when out-of-town friends visit: “That’s the Macy’s where the light show is, and that’s a 15-story cult headquarters that features an office for the founder who has been dead for almost 30 years.” That’d be a fun thing to say. But that building does not exist, so Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses & Inspections “intends to take the church to Blight Court.”


    Scientology leader David Miscavige, who is from the area and went to High School here until 10th grade before dropping out (no one knows where, people think maybe Marple Newtown), still roots for Philly sports teams according to the Daily News, which starts to explain some things. According to L&I, the Church of Scientology “has obtained no permits for construction on the property and has been in violation of the city’s ‘doors-and-windows’ ordinance since January for having ‘multiple boarded windows,’” and “a municipal-court hearing … could result in fines of up to $300 per day.” Wow. Wonder how they’ll ever get that kind of money.
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  11. Anonymous Member

    Curtains with the lights on at night. :p


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  12. Anonymous Member

    ^ That is SQUIRREL curtain tech. You can see right through.
  13. The Wrong Guy Member

    Philly Is Suing Scientology Over Its Vacant "Cathedral of the Future"

    A January, 2013 BuzzFeed expose about dissent within the church reveals even more about its real estate "boom" — including the fact that keeping these buildings closed is a way for the central church to wring more cash from local members:

    According to ex-executives, the Ideal Org money play is simple: Find beautiful buildings; get local parishioners to foot the bill; keep them closed; keep fundraising; open them; and finally, have the parishioners pay for renovations, buy supplies, and send money to the central church for the right to practice there.

    The church purchased a massive historical landmark — the 50,800-square foot Braley Building — in Pasadena in 2006. The building sat empty until 2010, when renovations began (it's now open). Likewise, the church's most important building, known as the Super Power Building, opened in 2011 after 12 years and $40 million worth of interior renovations. The pattern seems to be simple: Ask for donations to buy the building, then wait for even more donations to finish renovations.

    So the fact that the church is being sued for contributing to urban blight in Philly doesn't mean that they won't eventually open the building. Rather, it seems to indicate that the church is keeping it closed until local followers contribute enough cash to fund a major renovation. Paradoxically, this new volley of press is likely to help.
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  14. Anonymous Member

    "Philadelphia Freedom Org"

    It's been on hold ever since someone explained the lyrics to that Elton John song to DM. Nice going bonehead!
  15. Anonymous Member

    So, um........ diss wen we haffa put r pants on?
  16. The Wrong Guy Member

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  17. The Wrong Guy Member


    Scientology 'skyscraper' - could it open in Philly this year?

    By Jason Nark,, January 6, 2017


    For a contribution of $8,008, members of the Church of Scientology can get a lapel pin, a paperweight, some photographs of founder L. Ron Hubbard, and have their names on a plaque, someday, inside a 15-story building on Chestnut Street.

    The church purchased the former Cunningham Piano building across from Macy's near 13th Street in 2007 for $7.85 million to replace its Philadelphia headquarters a half-mile down on Race Street.

    Since the purchase, the building has sat - dark, empty and tax exempt.

    Recently, some Scientology-related posters have been placed in the windows. The building has collected paperwork for about a dozen violations from the city Department of Licenses & Inspections.

    An L & I spokeswoman, citing information from Scientology consultants, said there could be some movement on the property this year.

    "The consultants estimated being ready to apply for permits in the next couple of months but that more time-sensitive work will be needed and will have to wait until spring 2017," spokeswoman Karen Gusssaid.

    Asked about the status of the Chestnut Street building, the church replied by email, "maintenance work is being done on the property while we continue preparations for the full build-out and construction."

    A website for the Chestnut Street building dubs it the "Philadelphia Freedom Org" and includes renderings of a chapel, a bookstore and an office for Hubbard, who died in 1986.

    In a 2011, the church told the Daily News that Chestnut Street would open by 2013 and that church leader David Miscavige would ideally would return to the area to cut the ribbon. Miscavige grew up in Burlington and Delaware counties and joined Scientology as a teenager.

    Philadelphia also other has historical significance for Scientology. The $8,008 contribution recommendation for the new building is in honor of Hubbard's 1952 "Philadelphia Doctorate Course lectures," which a church flier calls "the largest single body of work on the identity, character and potentials of the spirit of Man ever assembled."

    The church's critics, including former Village Voice writer Tony Ortega and former high-ranking members Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder, have long said the new "Ideal Org" buildings opening worldwide are merely a way for it to raise money as it loses followers amid constant controversies.

    The church has claimed there were 10,000 followers in "Philadelphia/New Jersey area" but one former local member told the Daily News last year that number was closer to 50.

    Scaffolding was erected in the rear of the Chestnut Street building last year and out front posters were placed in the windows, each touting a different "way to happiness." One said 'Don't be promiscuous."

    Meanwhile, the church's Race Street location continues to advertise on Craiglist Philadelphia, claiming it can help with everything from public speaking and stress, to relationships and anxiety.

    "Are you curious about whether you have lived before this life? Or who you were?," the church wrote. "If you are to any of these questions, come join our group."

    Larry Steinberg, senior vice president at CBRE in Philadelphia, said the Chestnut Street property should be thriving.

    "I am not aware of any plans that the Church has submitted for development of this property since they have owned it," Steinberg said in an email. "It's a real shame that this property is sitting fallow on a street and a block that is showing strong activity and interest from some new, quality retailers."

  18. The Wrong Guy Member

    Will Church of Scientology’s tower finally open after nearly a dozen years?

    By Jason Nark, Philadelphia Inquirer, January 31, 2019


    The Church of Scientology says it’s building a huge house of worship in Center City. The controversial church has been saying that about its Chestnut Street property for a long time, though.

    In December, Scientology spokesperson Karin Pouw said the church has “applied for all needed permits with the city, and we expect to make substantial progress sometime in 2019.”

    In December of 2011, Pouw told the Inquirer that the building could possibly open in the spring of 2013. In 2016, she said the building was in the “planning stages.”

    Pouw could not be reached for comment Wednesday and declined to give an exact date for a ribbon cutting when reached recently by Philadelphia Magazine.

    “The building will house the new Church of Scientology of Philadelphia, and will service its parishioners and the community,” she told the magazine.

    Scientology’s leader, David Miscavige, grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs. Born in Bucks County, Miscavige spent his early years in Willingboro and was introduced to the world of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard by his father at a young age.

    Miscavige, a devout Eagles fan, has been accused of being physically and verbally abusive to underlings, accusations the church has long denied. His father, Ron Sr., has left the church and accused his son of sending private detectives to snoop on him.

    Miscavige’s biggest accomplishment was gaining tax-exempt status for the Church of Scientology in 1993, assuring that both the Race and Chestnut locations would not be taxed. In 2017, the Inquirer reported that the city was taking a hard look at nonprofit tax exemptions, and according to Rebecca Lopez Kriss of the city’s Department of Revenue, Scientology’s tax exemption for the Chestnut Street site was revoked that year.

    “We’re currently in litigation,” Lopez Kriss said.

    According to the Department of Revenue’s website, the church currently has a $373,722.85 tax bill.

    After the 2007 purchase, Scientology’s Chestnut Street building racked up violations — from broken windows to graffiti issues and unsafe conditions. The church, according to city records, later addressed all the violations. In December, the church received a zoning permit to combine the tower and a one-story building into one lot “for use as religious assembly.”

    A now-defunct website for the Chestnut Street building, dubbed the “Philadelphia Freedom Org,” included renderings of a chapel, bookstore, and office for Scientology founder Hubbard, who died in 1986. That website had also sought donations. A $8,008 donation would have come with a lapel pin, a paperweight, and some photographs of Hubbard, along with a name on a plaque.

    In 2016, Le Bus Bakery founder David Braverman, a former member, called the Chestnut Street tower a “catastrophically stupid idea.” He said the Race Street location had fewer than 50 members, most of whose time was spent fund-raising for Chestnut Street.

    Initial reports said the sale price of the Chestnut Street building was $7.85 million, but Philadelphia property records now say $6.2 million.

    Pouw, in 2011, said the “Philadelphia/New Jersey area” had about 10,000 Scientologists.

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