Press 2014

Paul Chrystie Tel: 215-686-9721,
Jamila Davis Tel: 215-686-9727,

Press Releases 2014

October 30, 2014

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for The Fairthorne: Seniors to Enjoy Affordable Housing in Roxborough

City, state, and federal officials joined Intercommunity Action, Inc., (Interact) to celebrate the opening of The Fairthorne, a new housing building in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia offering 40 affordable apartments for independent, low-income, older adults. The Fairthorne is a multi-million dollar community investment that is conveniently located near public transportation, supermarkets, and other community resources.

Over the past decade, Interact has devoted significant time and resources to developing safe, attractive, and affordable housing for seniors. “Our organization believes that a safe, comfortable home is an essential part to maintaining a fulfilling life, and this is especially true for seniors. The physical challenges and many stresses involved with maintaining, or even affording a home is a major source of anxiety,” said David Bolin, President and CEO of Interact.

Project funders include the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), Redstone Equity, LLC, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) provided financing assistance for the development.

“OHCD is extremely proud to invest in developments that help our seniors,” said Deborah McColloch, Director of OHCD. “It is important to provide safe, convenient, and affordable housing for our neighbors as they age. This project gives the residents access to many area businesses, and encourages independent living.”

“PRA is honored to play a role in this development,” said Brian Abernathy, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. “It is always our goal to be strategic partners with organizations within the City that are dedicated to improving communities. This housing complex will not only provide homes for these seniors, but the services to help them live productive lives, and that is something we are committed to.”

Interact is a nonprofit community-based organization that provides services in the areas of aging, behavioral health, and intellectual and developmental disabilities for the purpose of assisting people to achieve their maximum potential and enhancing their quality of life. In addition to affordable housing, Journey’s Way, Interact’s older adult division and service provider for The Fairthorne, provides a state of the art senior center that will provide a variety of aging resources and services to the new residents. Journey’s Way offers an innovative, national award winning counseling program for seniors and a multitude of resources designed to assist older residents remain safe, healthy, and involved in their communities.

July 31, 2014

OHCD Hosts Six Interns for Summer
By Norman Williams, photos by Emily Aguair

This summer OHCD has had the privilege of employing six high school and college interns. These interns are working in several different departments, and their work includes: managing events, cataloging historical photos, assisting with real estate operations, working in the foreclosure prevention program, data analytics and drafting news articles.

Harry Morgan
is a 20-year-old junior at Rutgers University with a double major in economics and political science. At OHCD, he worked in the Communications Department. Harry managed the groundbreaking for Ingersoll Commons, for which he drafted the press release, background memo for Mayor Nutter, and media advisory. He also wrote tweets for OHCD’s Twitter page and articles for Bulletin, OHCD’s quarterly newsletter. Harry is a participant in the Mayor’s Internship Program. He applied to OHCD because of his interest in government and OHCD was the right fit because of his interest in economic empowerment. While he is undecided about his career path, Harry has developed an interest in public service and knows that the skills he learned from his internship at OHCD will help him in his future endeavors.

Ifeanyichukwu Eze
or just Eze, is a 22-year-old senior at Temple University, majoring in landscape architecture. Eze chose OHCD to gain a mentor, which he found in OHCD Deputy Director Jo Ann Jones, and also wanted to see the skills needed to advance his career. Eze assisted the Land Bank, a new city entity charged with returning vacant land and structures to productive reuse, by analyzing the cost of public services to maintain vacant land. Like Harry, Eze’s internship with OHCD is through the Mayor’s Internship Program. Although he is unsure about his plans after graduation, Eze knows that the skills he acquired at OHCD will allow him to further his talents in the working world.

Emily Aquiar
is a 15-year-old sophomore at Avon Grove High School and is one of two high school interns at OHCD. Emily works with OHCD’s information design consultant Jane Whitehouse, assisting her by taking photos during events – including a ribbon-cutting shot that was posted on OHCD’s home page – and cataloging 25 years of OHCD photos. Emily is getting the professional experience she desired. Her internship with OHCD has helped narrow down her career options to a professional photographer or a physical therapist. Her experience with Jane and learning how to deal with clients will be a valuable asset in whichever career she chooses.

Davis Berlind
is a 20-year-old junior at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in behavioral economics. Davis worked in the Compliance Department analyzing whether developers meet goals related to minority- and women-owned businesses. Davis learned about the real estate and housing market, and how Request for Proposals (RFP) work. His former job was on a ranch, so OHCD was his first time working in an office environment, an experience that will help him because he plans to attend law school.

Megan Zak
is a 20-year-old junior at Temple University. She is majoring in political science and chose to intern at OHCD because of her interest in politics and government. Megan’s job at OHCD involved data analysis of the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Program, a program that helps homeowners facing foreclosure to stay in their homes. While most homeowners who saved their homes participated in a court-supervised process, Megan’s analysis found that many homeowners who worked with an OHCD-funded housing counseling agency were able to save their homes even working outside that process. Like Eze, Megan wanted to network at OHCD because she believes that meeting new people is important for her advancing in the working world and diversifying her career experience. In the future, Megan plans to attend law school, focusing on public interest law.

Norman Williams
is a 17-year-old senior at William Penn Charter and is the second high school intern at OHCD. He worked in the Communications Department where he managed the ribbon-cutting of Anthony Wayne II Senior Housing, drafting the press release, the background memo for OHCD director Deborah McColloch, and the media advisory. He also tweeted from the event. Norman also wrote several articles for OHCD’s Bulletin. Norman’s internship was through the Philadelphia Youth Network’s Work Ready Program. He was placed into OHCD because he wanted to improve his writing and to network. While he is undecided what he wants to do in the future, he knows that because of OHCD, he is able to communicate with people better in an office environment. His internship was his first experience in an office space and it has made him into the better writer that he aspires to be.

July 16, 2014

City, Community Celebrate Opening of Anthony Wayne II, Grays Ferry Welcomes 46 Affordable Units

Office of Housing and Community Development Director Deborah McColloch and Councilman Kenyatta Johnson joined the Altman Group to celebrate the ribboncutting of Anthony Wayne II, a new senior housing development located at SW Corner of South 27th and Morris Streets.

Anthony Wayne II Senior Housing provides affordable housing to those (55 and older). The development offers 30 one-bedroom apartments and 16 two-bedroom apartments, is accessible via public transportation and is also in the vicinity of several retail centers, emergency services, a post office, and medical care.

“At OHCD, we are committed to supporting our seniors, which is why we invested in Anthony Wayne II,” said Deborah McColloch. “Safe, affordable and accessible housing and services are critical as our population ages, and Anthony Wayne II meets those needs.

“Anthony Wayne II keeps seniors in their community,” said Councilman Kenyatta Johnson. “The development is a great addition to the neighborhood and will build a sense of unity among people of all ages in the neighborhood.”

The development is available to households earning between $11,088 and $47,520. Each resident can access onsite services provided by the Philadelphia Senior Center. Six of the bedroom units are fully accessible and each unit meets visibility standards.

Each unit is equipped with Energy Star Appliances, low flow water fixtures, and low VOC paint to help reduce impact on the environment. Anthony Wayne II is an approved Energy Star Multi Family High Rise development. The Altman Group’s Development entity, Elon Group and its Construction entity, Allied Construction followed best practices during construction by adhering to the Energy Star and PHFA Green Criteria.

“Anthony Wayne II is the result of many people working together for one common goal,” said Brett Altman of the Altman Group. “The Altman Group is pleased that our investments support our seniors and this South Philadelphia community.”

Construction of Anthony Wayne II resulted in the employment of 245 construction workers.

The City of Philadelphia provided $700,000 for the development and an additional $11 Million was leveraged in private equity that was provided by Hudson Capital and Capital One through the purchase of Low Income Housing Tax Credits awarded by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority underwrote the financing of the development.

July 10, 2014

Mayor Nutter breaks ground for Ingersoll Commons
Sustainable Development Will Create 10 New Affordable Homes and a New City Park

Mayor Michael Nutter, City Officials, Community Ventures and community members gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of Ingersoll Commons, a unique affordable housing complex with 10 energy sustainable homes and a new City park. The development will also include an innovative stormwater management system.

Ingersoll Commons will transform the vacant lot at 16th and Master Streets into a vibrant community asset. Ingersoll Commons represents a well-coordinated effort to address the City’s affordable housing, blight, stormwater management and sustainability goals.

“Ingersoll Commons will bring affordable, energy-efficient homes and a much-needed City park to an underserved community,” said Mayor Michael Nutter. “This development is also an important contributor to our nationally recognized “Green City, Clean Waters” strategy to manage the City’s stormwater. Today is a big step forward toward our goal of making Philadelphia the greenest city in the country.”

Ingersoll Commons is part of the City’s “Green Plan Philadelphia” initiative, which targets new open space in underserved areas of the city. The new park will establish green space in the community with large shade trees, paths, benches and plantings. The park will also be lit with solar-powered pedestrian lights.

“Parks and Recreation is proud to be a partner on this important project and to bring much needed green space to this community,” said Michael DiBerardinis, Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources. “Community parks and green spaces provide immeasurable benefits to communities.”

The development will implement a new state-of-the-art stormwater management system that will help divert runoff from the City’s overburdened sewage system. Two rain gardens will be constructed in the park specifically to manage the rain that falls on the property and runoff from surrounding streets. The innovative rain gardens are a project of “Green City, Clean Waters”, the City’s stormwater management initiative.

“This project embodies many of the elements of what we mean when we say that through public and private partnerships, we are building ‘a more sustainable city’,” remarked Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug. “By designing smart water systems that conserve and manage our water, we are greening our environment, creating a more livable city and managing our costs for water protection.”

“This development will help revitalize the community,” said Council President Darrell Clarke. “This project demonstrates the success of multiple City departments working together with a private developer to address multiple City needs. New affordable housing, green space and improved stormwater management will improve the quality of life in this neighborhood.”

The development places great emphasis on energy efficiency as Ingersoll Commons’ sustainable homes will include tankless water heaters and gas-fired furnaces. Each home will be equipped with 3 bedrooms, 2 ½ bathrooms and a basement, and will be affordable to a household earning $38,000 per year. The south-end unit will be wheelchair accessible. The development is expected to be completed in spring 2015.

The total project cost is approximately $4.4 million. The City of Philadelphia provided $2.9 million through a $400,000 Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant and $2.5 million through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. An additional $1.5 million will be generated from sales proceeds. The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority facilitated the transfer of City property to the developer and is underwriting the financing of the development.

“We are very excited about this project and the potential to revive this neighborhood,” said David La Fontaine, Executive Director of Community Ventures. “With the support of the City, we were able to provide not only affordable housing, but a beautiful City park for the whole community to enjoy and a means to alleviate the City’s stormwater management problems.”

June 30, 2014

HUD Awards City of Philadelphia $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant

Grant will help neighborhood implement North Central Philadelphia’s transformation plan to create jobs, housing and opportunities for residents.

Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that Philadelphia was awarded a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to revitalize the neighborhood of North Central Philadelphia.

“This is an exciting day for the residents of the North Central neighborhood and the entire City of Philadelphia. This grant is critical to our comprehensive revitalization strategy – it will help us to address many of the serious challenges facing this community: poverty, unemployment, poor educational attainment and decreased opportunities for residents,” said Mayor Nutter. “I know that HUD’s investment will help us transform this community and acting as a lightning rod for even more investment from local, state and private sources. I am looking forward to seeing the impact this grant will have for North Central and our entire City and I want to thank all of our partners for their commitment to this project.”

In total, Philadelphia’s Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant funding will create 300 new units of housing, including 147 new and refurbished units at the Norris Apartments site, 600 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs. Additionally, the City will leverage the grant funding to generate $125 million in federal, state, other public and private funds.

“This funding provides local leaders with the resources to turn their plans into a reality,” said Jemine Bryon, Acting Assistant Secretary of HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing. “An environment or zip code should not determine a child’s future. We want to give every person access to ladders of opportunity by supporting efforts that tackle problems and unlock potential in distressed areas.”

Senator Casey commented, “I’m very pleased that Philadelphia has been awarded this competitive grant, which has the potential to improve the local economy and help to transform this neighborhood. I weighed in with HUD about Philadelphia’s strong application, and I’m glad they also saw the great opportunity this neighborhood presents for economic growth and job creation.”

Council President Darrell Clarke said, “The Choice Neighborhoods grant will be an important catalyst for revitalization efforts already under way in North Central Philadelphia. I am grateful to HUD for making this significant investment in our shared vision for better affordable housing and services for the residents of this neighborhood. Community involvement is and always has been key to this process. I congratulate all parties involved in securing the Choice Neighborhood grant.”

To obtain the grant, the City worked with more than 40 partners, including the School District of Philadelphia, Temple University, the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA), the Philadelphia Police Department, local leaders and community stakeholders through the Office of Housing and Community Development to create the resident-driven North Central Philadelphia transformation plan.

“This grant is one of the most significant investments in affordable housing by the federal government in Philadelphia in recent years. This important grant will enable PHA and the City to invest in affordable housing and gives us a roadmap to build stronger, safer, more vibrant and sustainable communities,” said Kelvin Jeremiah, President and CEO, PHA. “I am especially grateful to Secretary Donovan, Senator Bob Casey, Mayor Nutter, Council President Clarke and our City and Local partners for their steadfast support. This accomplishment would have not been possible without the planning, dedication and investment in time and resources from our great partners.”

Nilda Ruiz, President and CEO, Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, Inc. (APM), added, “Providing quality social services and community economic development is vital to change a community. This grant gives the opportunity for the private and public sectors to work together to positively influence the quality of life for current residents and future generations.”

The Choice Neighborhoods program supports locally driven strategies to address struggling neighborhoods with distressed public or HUD-assisted housing through a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. The program is designed to stimulate critical improvements in neighborhood assets, including vacant property, housing, services and schools.

Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants focus on three core areas:

Housing: Replace existing distressed public and assisted housing with high-quality, mixed-income, energy-efficient housing;

People: Increase access to or create new services and supports delivered directly to youth and their families to improve education outcomes and intergenerational mobility within the community; and

Neighborhood: Support the conditions necessary for public and private reinvestment in North Central, including safety, good schools and commercial activity.

“This Neighborhood Choice grant will improve the life chances for thousands of Philadelphians who will be brought into the revitalization and prosperity of our city,” said Congressman Chaka Fattah. “I am extremely pleased to see the North Central Philadelphia community — and its dedicated partners — recognized for their vision of a brighter future for this neighborhood. I have been an advocate of this program and every year I have fought for its funding. I am proud to see these funds come home today.”

A series of community meetings identified the following resident priorities: more job training and opportunities; reduced crime and increased neighborhood safety; elimination of trash-strewn vacant land; and high-quality educational resources. The North Central Philadelphia transformation plan will address all of these areas of concern.

Corridor investments will enhance the economic vitality of the neighborhood by linking residents to assets such as transit, retail, parks and schools. Streetscape amenities – sidewalk repairs, lighting, bus shelters and tree planting – will beautify corridors, improve neighborhood safety, and create a healthier and more sustainable urban environment. Neighborhood walk-ability, new recreational opportunities and health initiatives will improve both the physical and mental health of community residents. A revolving loan fund provided by Philadelphia LISC will help to fill vacancies and attract mixed use development to the Germantown Avenue commercial corridor.

Partners such as the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and the Village of Arts and Humanities will expand existing programs to turn derelict lots into productive and attractive spaces, while targeted infill housing will replace vacant lots with new housing. In all, over 700 lots will be greened or developed.

Education initiatives led by Temple University and other partners will increase and improve pre-K opportunities, provide intensive and targeted education supports to neighborhood schools, offer additional educational programming to students, help close the digital divide, and assist high school students as they prepare for college or the workforce after graduation. The workforce and education center will provide the space required to offer a full range of job training, educational and employment placement counseling programs and services. The Reinvestment Fund, Econsult Solutions and Temple University will lead a rigorous evaluation process to ensure that the strategic initiatives in the Transformation Plan remain on target.

“Previous strategic City investments have improved sections of the neighborhood,” said Deborah McColloch, Director of the City’s Office of Housing and Community Development. “With this grant and the funding it will leverage, our successes to date will be expanded to include the entire community.”

June 9, 2014

Six Years of the Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Program: City, Nonprofits, Lenders and Court of Common Pleas Team Up to Save 7,495 Homes from Foreclosure

Deborah McColloch, Judge Annette Rizzo and the participants in the City of Philadelphia’s Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Program will mark the program’s sixth anniversary. Since June 2008, the Program has saved 7,495 homes from foreclosure.

In April 2008, the First Judicial District issued an order that no owner-occupied residential property in Philadelphia could be foreclosed upon without the homeowner having the opportunity to meet with the lender in a court-supervised conciliation process. The City funded a hotline (SaveYourHomePhilly 215-334-HOME), outreach to homeowners, housing counseling and legal assistance for homeowners.

“When the economic and foreclosure crisis hit, Philadelphia responded,” said Deborah McColloch, Director, Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD). “We’ve invested more than $15 million over the past six years, kept 7,495 families in their homes, and kept blocks all over this city stabilized. Our success is a direct result of the City’s 30-year commitment to housing counseling and neighborhood services.”

The Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention efforts include:

Outreach by neighborhood organizations to reach homeowners facing foreclosure at their homes and to alert them to available resources

SaveYourHomePhilly hotline to connect homeowners to housing counselors following case analysis by trained paralegals

Housing counselors to assist homeowners in negotiating mortgage modifications with lenders and to help them develop the financial skills to stay in the home

Pro bono attorneys to provide legal assistance when necessary in negotiating with lenders

Homeowners in the program may also participate in the “Tools for Financial Growth” program, managed by OHCD, which helps them develop the financial capability to remain in their home after it has been saved.

The City’s efforts to combat foreclosure began well before the 2008 housing crisis. An April, 2004, court order created the Mortgage Foreclosure Steering Committee. The Steering Committee included representatives of City agencies, the City Solicitor’s Office, OHCD, the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, lenders, the Philadelphia Bar Association, homeowner groups, legal services organizations and housing counseling agencies.

“Because of the hard work of the Steering Committee, we were prepared,” said Judge Rizzo. “They laid the foundation and provided the guidance to create and implement the Program. The members of the Committee are the true stewards of the program.”

“It is unfortunate that six years later there is still a need,” Judge Rizzo said. “In Philadelphia, no one walks this walk alone. Each week we still see hundreds of homeowners wanting to save their homes. In Philadelphia, no one walks this walk alone. But thankfully the program is in place, and we are still here to help them!”

The Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Program has been recognized both nationally and internationally.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Deputy Mayor Greenberger Unveils Investment In Small Businesses, Neighborhood Commercial Corridors

Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, joined Councilman Bobby Henon and business and community leaders in Northeast Philadelphia today to unveil a series of investments in small businesses from the Department of Commerce and to launch a new partnership with Waste Management that will generate $850,000 for neighborhood improvements in the Tacony section of the city. Today’s event also celebrated the completion of 15 storefront renovations made possible by the Department of Commerce’s Storefront Improvement Program.

“The Department of Commerce works every day to support small businesses and to create strong, well-managed commercial corridors throughout Philadelphia and today we are seeing the results brought by this level of partnership,” said Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. “Across the city we work with great community organizations, such as Tacony CDC, to help grow businesses, create jobs, and build sustainable neighborhoods. Through a range of programs and initiatives we are supporting small business owners in Philadelphia.”

Tacony Community Development Corporation also announced a new partnership with Waste Management of Pennsylvania, Inc., through the City’s CDC Tax Credit Program which provides an $85,000 tax credit for a business in exchange for a 10-year, $85,000 per year contribution to a community development corporation. Alex Balloon, Manager of Tacony Community Development Corporation, said: “Our community has really come together around a common vision, and working together with these programs we have taken the steps to turn that vision into real action and results.”

Today’s press conference took place in the 6th Councilmanic District represented by Councilman Bobby Henon, who welcomed the support for small businesses in his district.

“This is another way we can grow stronger communities: through vibrant commercial corridors,” Councilman Henon said. “I made a commitment to Torresdale Ave. by opening my District office here. It’s exciting that we can keep growing Torresdale Ave. into a true destination with similar commitment from Tacony CDC, the Department of Commerce and Waste Management.”Small businesses in Tacony participated in the Department of Commerce’s Storefront Improvement Program, which provides matching funding to business owners for storefront renovations. In partnership with Tacony CDC, almost $150,000 in funding has leveraged an additional almost $200,000 investment in that commercial corridor. To date the Storefront Improvement Program has reimbursed $539,776 for 75 completed projects on 34 corridors around Philadelphia generating a total project investment of $1.5M.

Local business owner Chris Psillos of the Athenian Diner commented, “We’re very excited with the results of our storefront project and our customers love it. Since the project began it has brought a whole new level of energy to our restaurant and our neighborhood.”

The unveiling of these latest investments comes as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that last month Philadelphia added 4,000 new jobs bringing the number of jobs in Philadelphia to the highest point for an April since 2003. In addition, earlier this month it was reported that the unemployment rate in Philadelphia had dropped to 8%, the lowest unemployment rate since December 2008.

To find out more about how the Philadelphia Department of Commerce is supporting small businesses and commercial corridors across the city visit

May 1, 2014

Belfield Avenue Townhomes – Ribbon Cutting for Green Townhomes, Three Net-Zero-Energy-Capable Homes Provide Permanent Housing for Homeless Families

Using the financial assistance of the OHCD and OSH, Raise of Hope, and Onion Flats built the three-unit Belfield Avenue Townhomes. OSH selected three homeless families in need of affordable housing for this permanent housing opportunity.

“This project advances our vision to provide affordable, safe, and efficient housing for everyone,” said Dainette M. Mintz City of Philadelphia, Director, Office of Supportive Housing. “These homes have changed the lives of these families, and I am looking forward to more developments that give people opportunities to make a pivotal change in their lives.”

Belfield Avenue Townhomes are Pennsylvania’s first Certified Passive House subsidized townhomes. Nationally, there are about 30 projects that qualify as “passive” because their energy consumption is minimal, and Belfield Avenue is one of the first built for the affordable housing market. These three prefabricated townhouses, have the ability to make as much energy as they use, lowering energy costs for residents by as much as 80 percent. This project has received an AIA Merit Award, and most recently, was honored with the 2014 International Passive House Award. Belfield Avenue Townhomes is one of seven projects from around the world to have received this prestigious award.

“Building Belfield Avenue Townhomes was a unique experience because it combined affordability and efficiency in ways never seen before,” said Howard Steinberg, Owner, Onion Flats. “We are known for our innovative design efforts, and taking that expertise and combining it with the mission of Raise of Hope, we were able to make a real impact.”

OSH provided $475,000 of SHP Development funds, and OHCD provided $794,705 in HOME funding. There were 21 construction jobs created during this project.

“Belfield Avenue Townhomes is a dream come true for these residents and our community,” said Habeebah Ali, founder of Raise of Hope. “Our mission for the last 20 years has been to help shape the lives of those that experience temporary and/or long-term homelessness. This project is something I have wanted to come to fruition for many years, and now it has.”

April 30, 2014

Mayor Nutter Opens Nugent Senior Apartments

Mayor Michael A. Nutter, joined by members of the community and Nolen Properties, LLC, participated in a ribbon cutting officially opening Nugent Senior Apartments, a new 57-unit affordable senior housing complex. The City contributed $2.6 million to the project, which converted the vacant, historic George Nugent Home for Baptists in Mt. Airy into senior housing, including rental units for low-income and disabled and handicapped seniors.

“Nugent Senior Apartments is an excellent example of what happens when an engaged community and an innovative developer receive support from City government,” said Mayor Nutter. “Working together, we were able to preserve a rich piece of Philadelphia history and create a new use for it that benefits the community.”

The George Nugent Home for Baptists was built in 1895 for the care of elderly Baptist ministers and their wives. It had fallen into disrepair by 2002 and considered for demolition. After community intervention, the home was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. The Nugent Home was acquired by Nolen Properties shortly thereafter.

“Nugent Senior Apartments is a historic treasure of this area. We were able to preserve the history of this extraordinary building, restore the original structure, and respected the authentic and distinctive design detail, all while giving almost 60 seniors new homes in their community,” said Jim Nolen, President, Nolen Properties, LLC.

In addition to the City funding, Nugent Senior Apartments received a Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) Low Income Housing Tax Credit award. The Tax Credits were purchased by PNC Bank.

Nugent Senior Apartments includes modern amenities like a community room, management office, supportive services office, mail room and a laundry room on every floor. Each apartment will also have internet access and fiber-optic connectivity. A new addition on the rear of the building offers greater design flexibility and interior community space.

The building’s interior renovation maintained, restored or replicated all of the original hallways, including the 10 foot-wide corridors, 12 foot-high ceilings, the four-story Grand Staircase and decorative millwork. The windows meet the original design standards but have been upgraded to energy efficient standards.

In March of 2014, Nugent Senior Apartments was awarded the 2014 Grand Jury Award from the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia.

April 26, 2014

Groundbreaking for Tajdeed Residences, New Development in Kensington – 45 New Construction Affordable Homes to be Built

The City of Philadelphia, Arab-American Development Corporation, Conifer Realty, LLC, Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sánchez, and community members gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of Tajdeed Residences. Tajdeed Residences will be a 45-unit apartment rental complex in an area bounded by Oxford, Jefferson, Cadwallader, and Bodine streets. The community will consist of 1, 2, 3, and 4-bedroom dwellings, which will be affordable to any income-qualified tenants. Six units will be fully accessible to people with disabilities.

“This project will provide quality, affordable, and energy efficient apartments, giving individuals and families housing options that meet their specific needs,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia. “Tajdeed is another example of the City’s commitment to increase affordable housing and eliminate blight. The City is also proud to support this project because the developer has made a commitment to employing individuals from this community.”

The development will include a community room with a kitchenette, sofa and table and chairs. The community space also includes an exercise room, a computer laboratory with working stations for residents, common laundry room, and community garden.

“This project gives this neighborhood new options for employment and housing, both of which are necessary to strengthen communities,” said Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sánchez. “I look forward to the completion of Tajdeed, so that we can begin to leverage this significant investment and expand its impact in the community.”

The development focuses on energy efficiency, and includes solar energy panels on the roofs, densely insulated exterior and interior walls and ceiling insulation, high SEER air condensers, well wrapped mechanical equipment, low flow fixtures, and Energy Star appliances and light fixtures. The solar panels will generate some power for the development.

“This community, and many parts of Philadelphia, are quickly changing,” said Marwan Kreidie, Executive Director, Arab-American Development Corporation. “Tajdeed Residence is critical to this area, as we are committed to affordable housing. Keeping housing affordable and creating jobs improves not just this community, but the entire city.”

The total project cost is approximately $13.8 million. The City of Philadelphia provided $2.1 million, $11 million has been raised through the syndication of Low Income Housing Tax Credits awarded to Conifer Realty by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, and there is a permanent mortgage equal to approximately $1 million.

Tajdeed Redevelopment Associates, L.P. is a joint venture between Conifer Realty, LLC and nonprofit sponsor Arab-American Development Corporation. Conifer Realty is a for-profit affordable housing developer with approximately 200 properties and over 15,000 apartment units located in 5 states. The Arab-American Development Corporation is a nonprofit organization that has been working in the neighborhood since 1997.

February 24, 2014

LGBT-Friendly Affordable Housing for Seniors Opens

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Monday, February 24th to celebrate the opening of the John C. Anderson Apartments, a pioneering LGBT-friendly, affordable senior housing apartment complex. The apartments – named for John C. Anderson, a Philadelphia City Council member from 1979 until his death in 1983, instrumental in the passage of Philadelphia’s civil rights bill for sexual minority individuals – broke ground in November 2012. The ceremony for the dmhFund and Pennrose Properties’ project was attended by U.S. Senators, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, a number of Pennsylvania congressional members, state representatives and city council members.

“It’s a dream come true,” said dmhFund president, Mark Segal who spearheaded the project. “To know that our seniors, those who paved the way for the rights we have today, finally have a proper home to call their own is just beyond words.”

The City of Philadelphia supported the $19.5 million development with $2 million in HOME funds. “We are proud to support this project,” said Deborah McColloch, Director of the Office Housing and Community Development. “Our goal is to make sure that all Philadelphians have access to affordable quality housing.”

The apartments have partnered with four local organizations to provide social services and events for the residents. The Mazzoni Center, Philadelphia’s LGBT health care and wellness center; ActionAIDS, a Philadelphia-based organization committed to an AIDS-free generation; the William Way Community Center, a Philadelphia community center which seeks to encourage, support and advocate for sexual and gender minorities’ and The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, a private, no-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life for older Philadelphians will all utilize the building’s community room.

“The John C. Anderson Apartments go beyond just a home,” said Segal. “Whether from a lack of financial resources or fear of discrimination when being honest with service providers about their sexuality, many LGBT low-income seniors have not received the physical, mental and spiritual support they have a right to as human beings. Our community partners allow us to care for the whole person.”

January 30, 2014

Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority Issues RFP: Seeks Developer for 59th and Market, New West TOD

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a 1.5 acre parcel with frontage on the Market Street corridor, and is bound by 59th Street, Market Street, Salford Street, and Filbert Street. Proposals are to be for mixed-use development concepts, with office and retail space. The property is highly transit accessible, and is within minutes of University City, Center City and transit access to the Western suburbs.

PRA is seeking proposals that will create engaging façades and enhance current retail opportunities. The proposals should also reinforce the positive qualities of the physical fabric of the immediate neighborhood and incorporate sustainable design principles.

All proposals, including a proposal deposit, must be submitted on or before 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 4, 2014. All proposals must be addressed to Tracy Pinson-Reviere, Project Manager II, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, 1234 Market Street – 16th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

The RFP is available on the PRA website at

January 13, 2014

Mayor Nutter, City Officials and Community Advocates Celebrate Historic Land Bank Bill Signing

Mayor Michael A. Nutter was joined by City Council President Darrell Clarke, Councilwoman María Quiñones-Sánchez, City officials, and community advocates to celebrate the signing of historic Land Bank legislation.

“Vacant parcels of land have long been a source of crime, blight, reduction of property values, and an overall hindrance to neighborhood revitalization,” said Mayor Nutter. “Returning these properties to productive use is a critical step in revitalizing communities, attracting new residents and businesses, assisting our schools, building household wealth and strengthening the City’s finances.”

With the new ordinance, Philadelphia will become the largest city in the country with a land bank. There are approximately 40,000 vacant properties in Philadelphia, three quarters of which are privately-owned.

“I am looking forward to what the land bank can accomplish in our City,” said Council President Clarke. “This bill opens an opportunity for the City to enhance business development and community revitalization projects in our neighborhoods, and collect tax revenue from new property owners, which will directly benefit public education for our children.”

Councilwoman María Quiñones-Sánchez added, “Today is the beginning of a change in our great City. The land bank provides a strategic, timely, predictable and transparent process for City acquisition and disposition of vacant and abandoned properties. This is a great accomplishment.”

The land bank will build on steps previously taken to simplify and streamline the land disposition process. In Fall 2010, the Nutter administration established the Vacant Property Working Group, chaired by City Finance Director Rob Dubow and Managing Director & Deputy Mayor for Administration and Coordination Rich Negrin, to develop a strategy to address the issue of vacant land.

In the last two years, the City has published disposition policies, published the inventory of vacant parcels, created an online single point of entry to acquire vacant land, and competitively sold parcels. The strategy formed by the Working Group became the foundation of the legislation signed today.

“This bill gives the City an opportunity to take an existing problem, and provides multiple solutions in every neighborhood,” said Majeedah A. Rashid, Chief Operations Officer, Nicetown Community Development Corporation. “We have seen this work in various cities across the country, and we know that we can take those existing models, combined with our City’s needs and expertise, and can change the future of living, working, and doing business in Philadelphia.”

In addition, the land bank will be able to acquire tax delinquent properties more efficiently, making it easier to combine those parcels with publically owned land to create parcels attractive for private investment.

“The land bank gives the City an opportunity to engage in every area of economic development,” said Anne Fadullon, President, Building Industry Association. “When public and private, for-profit and non-profit business and organizations have a chance to bring their goods and services to a community, it benefits business owners and the community. Job creation, business ownership, and access to quality products change the landscape of a neighborhood.”

Constance Morrow, a volunteer with the Women’s Community Revitalization Project, said, “Where I live in North Philadelphia, there are only 5 houses on my block – the rest are vacant lots. This new land bank will help turn these trash-filled lots into things we need: more affordable housing, green space and new facilities.”