PHA Awarded Tax Credit Financing for Strawberry Mansion Development

(Philadelphia, PA - July 27, 2016) -  

Strawberry Mansion

Strawberry Mansion Apartments (rendering)
PHA will build 55 new apartments in an area bounded by 33rd Street to the West, Arlington Street to the North, 32nd Street to the East and Berks Street to the South. The Strawberry Mansion Apartments will complement ongoing revitalization of the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood in North Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority's plans to develop a three-square block area in the historic Strawberry Mansion neighborhood have received a big financial boost.

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) has awarded 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) worth over $13 million toward the construction of the new development. The total cost of the Strawberry Mansion Apartments is estimated at $23 million. The balance of the construction costs will come from $7 million in PHA funds and private financing of $3 million through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. RAD allows housing authorities to expand funding options beyond what is provided by HUD.

"We are thrilled to receive this award, so that we can begin this long-awaited development in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood," said PHA President and CEO Kelvin Jeremiah. "This development will be set in an ideal location next to Fairmount Park and enhance the neighborhood. We believe that as a result, homeowners who live nearby will see values in their
properties increase. PHA has worked closely with community leaders to make this
development a reality."

PHA will build 55 new apartments in an area bounded by 33rd Street to the West, Arlington Street to the North, 32nd Street to the East and Berks Street to the South. The Strawberry Mansion Apartments will complement ongoing revitalization of the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood in North Philadelphia. Although the area has suffered from years of disinvestment and distress, it is currently experiencing a major transformation as a result of private investment and other capital improvements.

Construction of the Strawberry Mansion Apartments is expected to start by December 2016, and will consist of one, two, three and four-bedroom homes, ranging in size from 685 square feet to 1,734 square feet in a mix of walk-up apartments and townhomes. There will be at least six accessible units, two units for the hearing/visually impaired, and 38 units with features that at a minimum accommodate visitors with disabilities such as a zero-step entrances and ground-floor bathrooms.

The Strawberry Mansion Apartments are designed with sustainability and low energy usage in mind, with Energy Star rated appliances and mechanical equipment, and compact fluorescent bulbs throughout. The development will exceed the threshold 2015 Enterprise Green Communities Criteria. Streetscape improvements will include trees, lighting, curbs, and sidewalks. PHA is prepared to start construction, as it has acquired all parcels and obtained zoning and applied for building permits.

The new homes will have easy access to the Girard Avenue commercial corridor, educational institutions, such as Temple University, and transportation, including the recently expanded and modernized 33rd Street transportation hub. All of the apartments will be leased to families earning 60 percent of the area median income or less and 10 percent of the units will be reserved for families earning 20 percent of the area median income or less.

In addition to being awarded these tax credits toward developing Strawberry Mansion, PHA is financially supporting three other affordable housing developers who were awarded tax credits this year. This reflects PHA's philosophy of encouraging other organizations in the development of quality housing for low-income seniors, disabled citizens and families.