PHA, Spring Garden CDC Open 58 Affordable Homes in Historic District

Jun 01, 2010, 19:12 ET from Philadelphia Housing Authority

PHILADELPHIA, June 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Philadelphia Housing Authority has a reputation for imploding antiquated high-rise housing and replacing it with modern, community-enhancing homes.  But today, PHA and its partners – the Spring Garden Community Development Corporation and Michaels Development -- proudly unveiled 58 historically restored homes in the Spring Garden National Register Historic District.


These 58 affordable homes were dilapidated row houses only a short time ago. Today their facades reflect their Victorian-era roots, when Spring Garden was a fashionable, upper-class neighborhood. Inside, they contain the modern amenities that today's families require.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to create a mixed-income neighborhood and transform a historic community," said Carl R. Greene, PHA Executive Director.

"When you walk down these streets, you can't tell which is a PHA house and which is a private market house. This design provides an impetus for community unity."

Patricia Freeland, President of Spring Garden CDC, who first approached Greene 10 years ago with the idea of rehabilitating the PHA housing in the Spring Garden district, believes that the entire character of the neighborhood has changed.

"People are proud of where they live, proud of what their homes look like," said Freeland.

"People are walking their dogs at night. They feel safe. There are no more people standing around on the corners selling drugs. We have a peaceful kingdom where the affordable homes look as good as the market rate homes."

"Michaels Development is so proud to have played a part in the revitalization of this important urban neighborhood, which showcases not only the value of preserving historically significant properties, but is also a testament to the commitment of the PHA and the Spring Garden CDC to save the last remaining affordable housing in this area," said Robert Greer, president of Michaels Development Company.

Today's grand opening marks the second phase of the Spring Garden Community Revitalization.  The project is the culmination of a 10-year partnership between PHA and the Spring Garden CDC. During phase 1, completed in 2004, PHA restored 90 scattered site homes in the western area of the district. In Phase 2, the partners rehabilitated 22 dilapidated row houses that had been converted to multi-family use. In addition, PHA constructed three historically sympathetic new infill buildings on formerly vacant lots. A social services building has also been constructed to fit in with the historic appearance.

The project's architects worked closely with the Philadelphia Historic Commission to restore the facades, the white marble, the cornices and the other historic details that had vanished during the neighborhood's decline. The restoration captured the 2010 Preservation Achievement Award from the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia.

Freeland is so thrilled with the results, she would like to keep going.

"If Carl (Greene) is amenable, we'd love to do phase 3."

SOURCE Philadelphia Housing Authority