Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Project Description & Impact: Urban infill development transforming 33 vacant lots into 61 affordable housing units for seniors in South Philadelphia.
Client: RBC Tax Credit Equity LLC (Investor)
Financing Tools Used: conversion of public housing under the RAD program, construction financing by Capital One, HOME load from Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and Project Based Section 8 Vouchers from Philadelphia Housing Authority.
The Story Behind this Project
Cantrell Place, envisioned since 2011, is the result of a grassroots movement involving local residents, community groups and civic leaders to address the critical need of affordable housing for older adults in South Philadelphia.
Sponsored by Presby’s Inspired Life, this innovative urban infill development is transforming 33 blighted vacant lots across two city blocks into the 61 new affordable housing units. The site itself will also feature a garden, parking, a community space, a partnership with local pharmacy to deliver medications, a social services coordinator to link the residents to vital resources and easy access to public transportation and shopping districts.
Cantrell Place recently held its lease-up event, with a line of people gathering the day before to apply for an apartment. Potential senior leasers lined the sidewalks outside Presby’s Jackson Place community, just a few blocks away from the Cantrell Place site, for the opportunity to secure safe, affordable housing.
Jian S. Long, the first potential resident in line said through a translator, “I like it here in South Philly. This building will be safe and comfortable. And I just want to stay here in South Philly.”
Ralph Lowman, who was number 4 in line, lives only a few blocks away from where Cantrell Place will stand. For him, there are plenty of reasons to move basically down the street.
“As a retired person with a family, that family has grown up now,” he explained. “I need a clean, safe, affordable living area so I don’t have to maintain a whole house anymore. It’s financially stressful with me being the sole person in it. It would be more economic and it would be beneficial for me to move into a community like Cantrell. Cantrell is a place I know where I can maintain the lifestyle I’m used to without feeling like I’m forced out from a neighborhood I’m familiar with.”
Carmella Butler is a South Philly original. But after bouncing around from Center City to Delaware County the last several years, she waited in line Tuesday because she’s ready to return home.
“I want to live in South Philadelphia. I’m familiar with the area, all my doctors are here, it’s convenient to get to the buses and I just love South Philly,” she said. “The people here are friendly and it’s very affordable. I don’t know what else to say. This would just be perfect for me.”