The development will advance the priorities of PHA’s ongoing Sharswood/Blumberg Choice Neighborhood Initiative, which was designed to elevate the quality of life for local residents through improved housing, neighborhood conditions and career opportunities.
Sharswood Ridge will be located at 2077 Ridge Avenue in Sharswood, among the city’s most distressed communities. The site will provide 98 mixed-income rental units, with almost half (46 percent) of the homes reserved as below-market rate housing, and over 45,000 square feet of retail including Grocery Outlet, a discount supermarket chain, Everest Urgent Care, Santander Bank, and a Wingstop restaurant.
The $52 million project will be delivered through an unprecedented public private partnership, financed by innovative federal, state, local and private investment. Financing includes PHA loans, New Market Tax Credits, Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grants, and Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. loans.
Lead private investors include Woodforest CEI-Boulos Opportunity Fund, one of the nation’s leading Opportunity Zone funds focused on impact, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment’s (HBSE) real estate and community enrichment arm, HBSE Real Estate, and a team of local investors who contributed through a unique community crowd fund, called Small Change.
The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), Commonwealth Cornerstone Group (CCG), an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, and Capital One Bank, invested $28.5 million in New Market Tax Credit allocations necessary to bring this project to fruition. PHA serves as the senior lender and partner in the project.
“We are absolutely thrilled to make this phase of the Sharswood/Blumberg transformation plan become reality,” said PHA President and CEO Kelvin A. Jeremiah. “From the beginning, the revitalization of the Ridge Avenue corridor has been key to making Sharswood a neighborhood in which families would choose to live. The redevelopment of this site will provide housing services and jobs that disappeared from the neighborhood decades ago. I would like to thank Mayor Kenney, Council President Clarke and everyone involved in these efforts. The neighborhood is realizing the vision set forth by the community under the direction of Mosaic Development and their partners.”
PIDC continues to serve Philadelphia neighborhoods through the New Market Tax Credit Program and has invested significantly in Philadelphia neighborhoods through this program.
“This high-impact project will bring critical goods and services to North Philadelphia, will create job opportunities for neighborhood residents, and help to energize the entire Ridge Avenue commercial corridor,” said PIDC President, Anne Bovaird Nevins. “PIDC is proud to help finance this project and to work with Mosaic Development Partners, SHIFT Capital, and the PHA to make this project a catalyst for the corridor and for the whole community.”
“Sharswood Ridge is a major achievement that will bring significant opportunities to the surrounding community for many years to come,” said Joe DeFelice, Regional Administrator of HUD’s Mid-Atlantic region. “As I’ve often said, HUD is very proud to be a part of this united effort to change lives for the better. The progress we have seen so far is a testament to what we can achieve when the public and private sectors work together.”
The project is expected to create over 200 construction jobs and generate over 200 permanent jobs, of which 70 percent are expected to be made available to local residents. Construction is anticipated to begin this month.
“This development is a tremendously exciting day for the North Philadelphia community,” said Council President Darrell L. Clarke, whose district includes the site. “A $52 million mixed-use development that is urgently needed by North Philadelphia residents is finally happening.”
“This project checks so many boxes for our residents on issues magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. A lack of access to healthy foods – we have a supermarket in this development. Check that box. Access to adequate health care – we have an urgent care coming here. Box checked. Access to banking – a new bank is locating here. Check that box. More affordable housing – for seniors. Check the box. Businesses which are minority-owned gaining economic opportunity. A black developer is developing this project. This project checks every box we want and need in North Philadelphia. I cannot wait to get shovels in the ground.”
“This development will serve as a linchpin in the rebirth of the Sharswood neighborhood,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “It shows what we can achieve when government and private partners join together with a common purpose. It also shows the value of including community members in setting priorities for the services they feel are most important to them. Congratulations to PHA and all of its partners for making this day possible.”
“Sharswood Ridge is a testament to our work and belief that all neighborhoods deserve equitable investment and wealth building opportunities,” said Leslie Smallwood Lewis, Mosaic Development partner. “This is only possible through a true public-private partnership, and we’re honored to work with the Philadelphia Housing Authority, elected officials, the local community and our investors who are dedicated to bringing essential services and improving neighborhoods.”
The Sharswood/Blumberg Redevelopment Initiative is a plan by the PHA to improve the quality of life for local residents. The community faces a 52.5 percent poverty rate, 80 percent unemployment, more than 1,300 vacant parcels, a vacant public school building, a depressed commercial corridor, and a frail system of social services. The Initiative aims to develop the neighborhood through new affordable housing, local job creation, neighborhood-serving retail and commercial services and public green space. The redevelopment has so far delivered hundreds of housing units and the PHA’s new office headquarters which opened in December 2018. Sharswood Ridge is intended to complement those earlier investments.
“Sharswood Ridge will be considered a national model for creative public-private partnerships. It is a testament to mission-aligned developers and investors working together with our government partners to deliver a project that the community needs and deserves,” said Brian Murray, CEO, SHIFT Capital. “SHIFT is thankful to PHA for their vision and our various partners who believe in the greater mission of this project and the investment in the Sharswood neighborhood.”
Local neighborhood community leaders, who have been waiting for years for this community to realize an investment of critical community services, celebrated the groundbreaking.
“Our community has worked together to build a community that has been committed to growth and stabilized families,” said Darnetta Arce, Executive Director, Brewerytown/Sharswood CDC. “We have pushed for a grocery store and a health center for a long time, and we are grateful that our elected officials, community leaders and development team brought this to fruition.”