The City of Philadelphia is planning to sell two West Philly public housing towers, in order to fund the renovation of another tower, while also financing the construction of hundreds of new apartments within West Philadelphia. The towers sit just north of 46th and Market, and each tower possesses 109 apartment units. The apartment blocks were built in the early 1960s, and community members and government officials have come to the conclusion that the development is in dire need of a facelift.
The two southernmost towers are for sale, alongside a yet to be determined amount of land surrounding the towers. Currently, there is no stated price for the towers and land, according to marketing materials provided by the department in charge of the sale. The Philadelphia Housing Authority will hold onto the northern section of the site, which sits on a large 12-acre lot. With the proceeds from the sale, the existing tower will be converted into housing for seniors, while the authority will also build low-rise apartments and rowhouses to make up for the loss of the units into the sold towers.
People residing in the for-sale towers will be provided housing in other public developments, and are first in line to get into the new and renovated West Park units after completion. The housing authority has not yet come up with a budget for the project but hopes to have one by late 2019 or early 2020. The project is focused on connecting the West Park project with the Philly street grid, to make the area more accessible to commuters and residents alike.
The area is particularly attractive for developers due to its proximity to booming areas in the Philly real estate market in the west part of the city. In addition, the project sits within a Qualified Opportunity Zone, which affords substantial tax breaks for investors who deploy capital in projects within the zone. Potential plans for the site include multifamily apartment buildings, 55 housing, or a mixed commercial/residential space.
Since the towers will be converted into additional housing, and all of the public housing stock is being replaced, this sale will likely have far less resistance from nonprofits, citizen groups, and other stakeholders. The fact that the project will be connected to the Philadelphia street grid is also a major plus that should raise the quality of life for residents in and around the West Park Apartments.