Another Three Bite The Dust As PHA Implodes Mill Creek Apartments
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 decades.

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 next summer.

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 city's neighborhoods.

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"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 development.

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 sources.

Barclay White Skanska, Inc. of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania is managing construction.

About PHA

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 financial stability.