After three years of delays and other issues, the plans created by the Philadelphia Housing Authority to overhaul the Westpark Apartments high-rise complex are finally being set into motion. A proposal for the 12-acre complex was accepted by the Board of Commissioners on Thursday, which means that the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) can focus their efforts on finalizing the $500 million required to finance the project.
The three high-rise buildings, which have been active homes for almost 60 years, were at risk of demolition in the original proposal. Kelvin Jeremiah, President of the PHA, was quoted as saying, “If we were not to renovate those three buildings, we’ll lose 327 units”. The accepted proposal will gut the original buildings and their units, and completely revamp them. The PHA hopes to achieve 1,000 total units between the high-rises, while the original proposal called for 650 units.
There are also plans to include a mid-rise senior-living building, as well as over 170 townhomes on the Westpark Apartments site. The project will include 600 affordable living units, while the rest will be a mixture of “workforce hosuing” and regular market rate apartments. Workforce housing is available to residents that do not earn more than 120% of the area’s median income. PHA President Kelvin Jeremiah expanded upon this idea, stating how, “We want to ensure that in areas where we’re seeing increasing housing costs, that PHA is there to maintain some level of affordability for folks who are low-income. And that’s what we’re doing here. I think we’ll have an incredibly valuable housing development that will be mixed-income, that will give residents a place where they can live proudly and thrive with respect and dignity”.
The proposal for the site also includes over 10,000 sqft of commercial space, which will be rented out to a tenant in the future. The developers believe that this project will help the Westpark Apartments complex reintegrate into the surrounding neighborhood by providing new housing and commercial opportunities for everyone.
More information found in | “Philadelphia Housing Authority moves closer to starting construction at Westpark complex” | Aaron Moselle