PHILADELPHIA, PA, USA
- In a
matter of just seconds, the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA)
today took down three more of its aging high-rise buildings, with
the implosion of the Mill Creek Apartments in West Philadelphia.
The demolition marks the latest step in PHA's historic campaign to
revolutionize public housing as Philadelphia has known it for
PHA Executive Director Carl R. Greene hailed
the implosion. "The impact of these buildings crumbling to the
ground is nothing compared to the impact the new Mill Creek
development will have on West Philadelphia," said Greene. He was
referring to the new 627-home community PHA will begin building by
The buildings taken down today by Controlled
Demolition Inc. of suburban Baltimore were built in the 1950's.
They had been neglected and left to deteriorate. The foundations of
many of the buildings were improperly constructed over an
underground stream, and the unstable ground had severely damaged
many of the units.
But chances are the buildings would be coming
down even if they had not developed those problems. For the past
several years, PHA has been systematically eliminating the
"projects" and all that they stood for, and replacing them with
communities of contemporary townhouses, twins and duplexes.
The effect has been dramatic decreases in crime
and increases in property values in communities near these
redeveloped PHA sites. Mayor John F. Street says the unprecedented
pace of PHA construction is bolstering his plan to transform the
PHA Implodes Mill Creek Apartments/page 2
"Today's implosion begins the process of
turning this section of West Philadelphia into a beautiful place
where families will want to live," said Street. He added that the
city has already seen that happen in other locations where PHA has
replaced high-rises with modern low-rise communities.
Residents of the Mill Creek towers moved out
more than four years ago. Tenants in the low-rise portion of the
development have been relocated, mainly to other PHA sites, over
the past several months.
It will take a while to haul away the debris
from today's blast. Construction on the new Mill Creek is set to
begin in July 2003. The plan includes building new streets through
the 17-square block development. Plenty of park space will also be
featured. About 250 of the new homes will be for sale at market
rates. The remaining homes will be rentals. Some former residents
will be given an opportunity to move back to the new
The new homes will be close to schools,
retailers and job opportunities. PHA expects to have all the new
homes and facilities completed by December 2006.
Including demolition, the cost of the project
is just under $110 million. The funding is coming from the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development, Pennsylvania
Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and other state and city
Barclay White Skanska, Inc. of Blue Bell,
Pennsylvania is managing construction.
PHA is transforming public housing in the city
of Philadelphia. As the nation's fourth largest public housing
agency serving more than 70,000 residents, PHA is the first housing
authority in the U. S. designated by the Institute of Real Estate
Management (IREM) of the National Association of Realtors as an
"Accredited Management Organization." This designation is awarded
to firms engaged in property management that have met IREM's high
standards in the areas of education, experience, integrity and