Groundbreaking ceremony expected at former Queen Lane Apartments site next week

     A view of the former Queen Lane Apartments tower in the middle of its September implosion. (NewsWorks, file art)

    A view of the former Queen Lane Apartments tower in the middle of its September implosion. (NewsWorks, file art)

    A new public-housing complex will soon start taking shape inside an empty Germantown lot.On Sept. 13, the Philadelphia Housing Authority demolished Queen Lane Apartments, 16-story high-rise that loomed above Queen Lane and Pulaski Avenue for nearly 60 years.

    A low-density development featuring 55 rental units will take its place — if all goes according to plan — in a little over a year.

    “We’re ready to go,” said PHA’s Executive Director Kelvin Jeremiah. “We’re excited about the prospect of really beginning the work of revitalizing Queen Lane.”

    The timeline ahead

    Now that the debris pile from the tower’s demise is cleared, PHA can issue what’s known as a “notice to proceed” to DALE Corporation, the project’s contractor.

    The Glenside-based company is expected to have the notice in hand by Dec. 15. A groundbreaking ceremony for the $22 million effort will be held at the site two days later.

    Construction could start in earnest as early as January after a series of subcontractors are hired.

    PHA has pledged to pay for a plaque commemorating a Potter’s Field that sits on the site. The roughly two-acre space was once home to burial ground for “all strangers, Negroes, and Mulattoes [who] die in any part of Germantown forever.”

    Project already underway

    In the meantime, construction is already underway at nearby Queen’s Row.

    PHA is renovating five buildings on the 500 block of West Queen Lane and one more on the 5200 block of McKean Ave. to supplement the units at the Queen Lane Apartments site.

    The $3.5 million project is scheduled to wrap up by Aug. 2015.

    Both projects are part of PHA’s plan to create 6,000 housing units in the next five years.

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