By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Archdiocese is drawing national attention for a major development project it calls “the Cathedral Block.”

The proposed L-shaped development of housing, office, and retail space would front parts of 17th Street, Vine Street, 18th Street, and Race Street.

Deacon Thomas Croke, who serves as the archdiocese director of property services, says it would make better use of land that essentially is occupied by older buildings and a blacktop parking lot.

“Encompassing, or backstopping if you would, the cathedral and the rectory, and then develop around that,” he said.

Croke says in the short time the project has been circulated, the archdiocese has had interest from more than 25 developers who signed confidentially agreements to get a link to the request for qualifications and more about the project.

He says those developers who have expressed serious interest are from southern California, Texas, Chicago, New York, and from throughout the region.