Industrial lot targeted for new affordable housing complex in North Philly

New Courtland hopes to bring one-bedroom apartments for seniors and retail space to the site.

Lot at 3030 N. 20th Street in Philadelphia

Lot at 3030 N. 20th Street in Philadelphia’s Allegheny West neighborhood. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

A mixed-use development with 48 units of affordable housing for seniors is slated for a vacant industrial lot in North Philadelphia.

The proposal for 3030 N. 20th St. would bring a four-story apartment complex and 24,700 square feet of commercial space that may be anchored by a new grocery store. A 33-space parking lot would sit in between the two structures.

Construction on the project, led by affordable housing developer New Courtland, is expected to start before the end of the year and take roughly 12 months to complete.

“We’ve already had our community meeting. The community supports the project. So we’re feeling good about zoning,” said Max Kent, New Courtland’s chief operating officer.

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The development would sit among shuttered industrial buildings across the street from a residential neighborhood. The plot, which once housed a warehouse, would be the latest to be transformed as part of an ongoing planning effort launched by the Allegheny West Foundation, a community development corporation.

Over the last 15 years, the organization has played a role in developing Allegheny Apartments, Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School, and Bakers Centre, among other projects.

“It’s critical you remove blight, but you create housing and you create economic opportunity at the same time,” said Ronald Hinton, president of the Allegheny West Foundation.

The project on North 20th Street would be built on land owned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. The lot has sat empty since 1980.

The proposal does not have a final price tag yet, said Kent. New Courtland has secured Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from the federal government, and is seeking additional funding from federal home loan banks.

If it moves forward, the development would offer subsidized one-bedroom apartments to people who are 62 and older earning up to 50% of the area’s median income. For an individual, that translates to roughly $40,000 a year.

Hinton said there’s a real need for affordable senior housing in Philadelphia. “It is also a strategic opportunity to find ways so that seniors can stay in the neighborhoods that they grew up in, that they had their kids in, that their grandkids are in,” he said.

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New Courtland is scheduled to go before the Zoning Board of Adjustment on Aug. 30.

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