PHILADELPHIA - Sept. 17, 2012: Mayor Michael A. Nutter joined the Nicetown CDC, Universal Companies and The Community Builders, Inc. to celebrate the groundbreaking of Nicetown Court II, a 50-unit affordable housing development with commercial space in the 4400 block of Germantown Avenue on formerly vacant sites. Nicetown Court II, funded by federal Neighborhood Stimulus Program 2 funds (NSP2), is integral in the comprehensive economic development strategy of the entire Nicetown community.
|Pictured left to right: A. Rahim Islam, Universal Companies, president and CEO, Zakariyya Abdur Rahman, Nicetown CDC, president and CEO, Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia, Deborah McCullugh, PA Redevelopment Authority, Majeedah Rashid, Nicetown CDC, chief operating officer, Bart Mitchell, The Community Builders, Inc., president and CEO, Rob Fossi, The Community Builders, Inc., Mid-Atlantic regional director, Cindy Bass, 8th District councilwoman, Terry Gillen, City of Philadelphia, director of federal affairs and Salomon Jones, Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah|
“Nicetown II is a vital component of revitalizing this neighborhood and discovering its potential,” said Mayor Nutter. “Providing new quality affordable housing and creating economic development opportunities through commercial space, while providing local construction jobs, is something we can all support.”
“We are so proud of the transformation of the Nicetown community, but we are still working hard. Nicetown Court II provides additional quality housing for our neighbors, opportunity to improve our economic sustainability and offers a safer environment for our families. Thank you to all of our development partners and funders.” said Zakariyya Abdur-Rahman, president of the Nicetown CDC.
“I'm excited about this project and what it means to this neighborhood. I'm equally excited about Universal Companies and our history of delivering on our promise to improve our community, stated Rahim Islam, President & CEO of Universal Companies. ”While we have a ways to go, this investment is proof that Universal has to be considered a solution in the fight against neighborhood blight, disinvestment and poor quality of education,” continued Islam.
The development will provide modern, attractive, and safe housing for low-income individuals and retail spaces to serve residents of Nicetown Court II and the commuters that utilize the Wayne Junction Station and other SEPTA routes daily. The attractive first floor retail space is anticipated to be utilized by a restaurant with indoor/outdoor seating, a pharmacy, and a coffee shop.
“Nicetown Court II is an exciting next step in the revitalization of the Nicetown neighborhood, said Rob Fossi, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director for The Community Builders, Inc. “We are proud to bring TCB’s development resources and capacity to this unique community partnership that is creating quality affordable housing and vital commercial/retail space for local residents and small businesses.”
Nicetown Court II complements other NSP2-funded neighborhood revitalization initiatives, including the development of Nicetown Court I, with 37 units of affordable housing and 3,900 square feet of commercial space. NSP2 funded also supported the demolition of a nearly block-long vacant warehouse and 33 dilapidated single-family homes blighting the community. More than $33 million additional federal funds are also slated for the current renovation of the train station and there is both public and private investment in local facilities such as Triumph Baptist Church, Marcus Foster Stadium, and the Shane Victorino Nicetown Boys and Girls Club.
Brian Hudson, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, said “Congratulations on the groundbreaking of another development in the transformation of this neighborhood. The addition of new affordable homes and retail will bring economic security to the neighborhood and is a smart and strategic investment.”
8th District Councilwoman Cindy Bass, said “The collaborative efforts in this neighborhood have been significant. When community groups, developers, funders, the City and our community work together, a blighted community can become vibrant.”
Careful planning was given to managing stormwater and water conservation. These design features include landscaping to minimize soil erosion, installing drought tolerant plants, and use of strong stormwater management systems of inlets and basins. The design also emphasizes energy efficiency through the selection of high- efficiency fixtures and the insulation methods and materials. The site design is slated to meet LEED silver certification and exceed where possible Energy Star performance in both Energy and water conservation.
The design also focused on reducing the amount of neglected vacant space. The development will bring added safety to the site by repairing and replacing damaged sidewalks and sections of roads, as well as installing new curb cuts, and repairing old tree wells and replacing existing damaged trees. The site plan will introduce new elements such as additional trees and tree wells, lighting on the residential and the commercial spaces, and secure bicycle racks to improve the pedestrians experience along the site.
Nicetown Court II will feature two, three, and four bedroom units. There will be six accessible units and two units are set-aside for persons with hearing and vision impairments. Upon completion, the units will be targeted to people with income at or below 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI).
The City has allocated $5.5 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2) stimulus funds, which have helped to leverage $10 million in private investment through tax credits of which Hudson Housing Capital is the investor. An NSP2 grant of $1,500,000 is also being provided by The Community Builders, Inc. The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) is providing funding in an amount up to $500,000 and the Department of Commerce is providing a $100,000 development grant for the commercial component. TD Bank is providing a construction loan.
Construction is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2013.
Stephanie J. Anderson
The Community Builders, Inc.
About The Community Builders, Inc.
The Community Builders, Inc. (TCB) is the largest nonprofit developer of mixed-income housing in the United States. Our mission is to build strong communities where people of all incomes can achieve their full potential. We realize our mission by developing, financing and operating high-quality housing and implementing neighborhood self-help initiatives to drive economic opportunity for our residents. Since 1964, we have constructed or preserved over 320 affordable and mixed-income housing developments and secured over $2.5 billion in project financing from public and private sources. Today, we manage more than 100 properties in 12 states. We are headquartered in Boston with regional hubs in Chicago and Washington.