Rowhomes replace housing towers in South Philadelphia

Some new South Philadelphia homes have risen from the rubble of a crumbling public housing project.  

Philadelphia Housing Authority’s interim chief Michael Kelly used giant scissors to cut the ribbon to a group of balloons to celebrate the completion of the Martin Luther King Redevelopment project at 13th and Fitzwater Streets.  

Estelle Richman, who is acting as the PHA board during the transition time, says the change from high-rise to rowhomes is significant.

“I do remember when the towers were here, I was Health Commissioner most of that time we used to get complaint of how unsafe it was–families who had disabled people carrying them up the stairs, people who are aging who fell and couldn’t get anyone’s attention, crime,” said Richman.

Kelly says this is about more than new bricks and mortar.

“Though we are celebrating completion, we are in many ways celebrating a renewed commitment of partnership,” said Kelly.

Half the 245 units will be rentals.  PHA will be trying to sell the other half to people earning between $62,000 and $78,000 a year.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.