Scientology's dark tower on Chestnut Street (Philly)


A DARK TOWER ON Chestnut Street was the beacon that David Braverman said he needed to navigate his way out of the Church of Scientology.

Braverman, founder and owner of LeBus Bakery, says he spent close to $1 million on Scientology during nearly four decades - on the church's so-called auditing sessions to restore "beingness and ability," on travel to its massive Flag Building in Clearwater, Fla., and in fulfilling constant requests for donations. He also provided the catering for fundraising events.

Foremost in his largesse was the estimated six-figure sum he gave toward purchase of the 15-story former Cunningham Piano Building, on Chestnut near 13th Street. The church bought the building in 2007 for $7.85 million, touting it as its first "skyscraper" to replace its longtime Philly headquarters a half-mile away on Race Street. Plans for the building included a chapel, a bookstore, and even an office for a dead man - Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, who died in 1986.
But the Chestnut Street building appears no closer to opening in 2016 than it did in 2007.

According to the Department of Licenses and Inspections, the Church of Scientology has yet to apply for work permits on the property. An L&I spokeswoman said recently that an issue over sprinklers and standpipes could land the church in blight court if a variance isn't granted by the Fire Department.

Braverman left Scientology about two years ago. He says something about the building bothered him: The Philadelphia area didn't have enough Scientologists to fill the Race Street offices, let alone a Center City high-rise.
"It was a catastrophically stupid idea," Braverman, 65, of East Falls, said during a recent interview at a Starbucks on Main Street in Manayunk. "I started to voice my opinion about it, very quietly, even though I had been behind it with catering events and donating all this money."

In 2011, Karin Pouw, a Church of Scientology spokeswoman, told the Daily News that the building would be open by 2013 and that the church's leader, David Miscavige, ideally would return to the area to cut the ribbon. Miscavige grew up in Burlington and Delaware counties and joined Scientology as a teenager.

One of Miscavige's victories was in gaining tax-exempt status for the Church of Scientology in 1993, assuring that both the Race Street and Chestnut Street locations would be untaxed.
When asked the other day to comment on the status of the Chestnut Street building, Pouw said only that it was still in the "planning stages."
In 2011, the church said the "Philadelphia/New Jersey area" had about 10,000 Scientologists.

But Braverman estimates that 50 or fewer practicing Scientologists live in the area, and he believes the church isn't having much luck recruiting and isn't even trying.
Increasing numbers of adherents have become disaffected with Scientology, he says.


Gold Meritorious Patron
We have traveled around the Globe to many of the very few Church of Scientology Ideal Org buildings.

That is the scene in all Ideal Morgues around the Globe. E-M-P-T-Y and V-A-C-A-N-T!
Thanks to one of thousands of SP's like the Tampa Bay Times....Scientology has been sufficiently SUPPRESSED! :happydance::yes::biggrin:

Lurker's - don't take our word for it - OBNOSE for yourself. GO THERE AND LOOK!