Asociacíon Puertorriqueños en Marcha—the Association of Puerto Ricans on the March, or APM—broke ground Tuesday morning on a mixed-use, transit-oriented development project to be known as Paseo Verde at 9th and Berks. The ceremony was led by APM president and Planning Commissioner Nilda Ruiz, and included remarks from City Council President Darrel Clarke, State Senator Shirley Kitchen, and Mayor Michael Nutter.
In reality, the ground was already broken on the large lot which stretches the length of the block directly east of the Temple University train station. Backhoes sat on the dirt lot while Ruiz spoke about the project and thanked the myriad parties which have provided funding and supported the development politically.
APM plans to turn the lot into more than 100 mixed-income residential units, with retail and dining space on the ground floor. The project carries a price tag of nearly $50 million, with funding coming from City, State, SEPTA and private sources. The project was developed by APM and Jonathan Rose Companies.
The lot was used for years as a parking lot for PGW, which has headquarters just a few blocks south. The plot was rezoned from industrial to commercial and residential through a bill introduced by Councilman Darrell Clarke in 2010. Paseo Verde is the biggest non-University development project of its kind in the area around Temple.
Mayor Nutter was in rare form, cracking jokes about how many milestones he’d commemorated with APM at the 9th and Berks site, and saying he looks forward to coming back for each occasion when someone rents a residential unit or patronizes a shop. Nutter rode to the site on the train with SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey and Council President Darrell Clarke to demonstrate the project’s connection to public transportation.
In his remarks, Clarke described himself as the kind of person who drives his car to the corner store rather than taking public transportation.
“Two times in the last five years I’ve gotten on the train,” Clarke said, addressing himself to SEPTA manager Casey. “Last year during the storm, because I couldn’t get my car out, and today. And I’ve got to tell you, it ain’t bad.”
Nilda Ruiz said the group hopes to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the site in 18 months.