Over the last few years, forty-one homes have risen in the Point Breeze neighborhood thanks to funding from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), which was “established for the purpose of stabilizing communities that have suffered from foreclosures and abandonment.” With financing administered by the Redevelopment Authority, these homes have been presented by politicians and in the media as affordable housing options. As former PRA executive director Ed Covington said in an Inquirer article last year, ”These homes represent an opportunity for families of average means to buy a house in a revitalizing neighborhood.”
NSP homes at 20th and Dickinson
But are these homes affordable? And are the people buying them truly those being targeted by the program? The question of whether these homes are actually affordable at prices ranging from $125K – $250K has certainly…
We were in the neighborhood the other week and spotted a zoning notice on the extremely vacant 1600 block of Master Street. Peering in for a closer look, it became clear that new student housing, seemingly everywhere in this area, would not be on the agenda for this location.
Eastern side of the lot
In the middle, see the zoning notice?
The western end of the lot. It's huge!
Looking at public record, it appears that the City of Philadelphia has owned this lot since the 1980s. Somehow this did not come as a shock to us. Doing a little more digging, we discovered a story from Flying Kite Media, outlining the plan for this parcel.
Apparently, affordable housing developer Community Ventures, now winding down
The affordable housing homeownership development on the 1700 block of Federal Street, which we’ve told you about in the past, is nearing the finish line. Built by Community Ventures and funded with NSP2 dollars, these homes, like many affordable housing developments started in this neighborhood in the past year, look more like private development than strereotypical affordable housing.
Unfortunately, these new construction homes are not immune to the acts of vandals. Check out these photos:
Through the driveway
Wall of the driveway
Sure, we see graffiti on buildings all over town, but not usually on homes that were just built. Hopefully, the developers will deal with this soon. Broken window theory, ya know?
Readers have tipped us off about more construction in Point Breeze, all within earshot of the American Sardine Bar. You may recall a few weeks ago, we pointed out a couple of homes under construction directly across the street from the bar, and speculated that this new business could spark a building boom on the surrounding blocks. Are we spotting a trend, or is something else going on here?
1714 Ellsworth St. was purchased by Woodblock Investments LLC in March, for $65K. Like a property a few blocks to the north that we noticed recently, the developer has preserved the cornice while demoing the rest of the home. We couldn’t say exactly what the developer is planning here, but a two or three story, market rate house seems like a safe bet.
Check the cornice
Just down the…
Back in June, we wrote about an eleven-unit affordable housing project from Community Ventures in cooperation with South Philadelphia H.O.M.E.S. in Point Breeze. In case you don’t feel like (re)reading 800 words from six months ago, the key takeaways are: Community Ventures is building really nice looking homes for low-income buyers, but they are costing taxpayers WAY too much money. As the months have passed, the developer has made quite a bit of progress at the two sites. And you would hope so, considering that it’s costing $345K to build each home.
Renderings of some of the homes
1600 block of Federal St.
1600 block of Manton St.
Four homes on S. 17th St.
Right next door to one of the classiest bars