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West Philadelphia Real Estate (WPRE) is Revitalizing 60th Street’s Commercial Corridor

Topic Housing
Geography Pennsylvania

View more stories from our 2022 Annual Report

Financing from Reinvestment Fund will support the construction and operations of a 30-unit Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) project, WPRE VII.

West Philadelphia Real Estate (WPRE) will build 30 affordable housing units along the 60th Street commercial corridor in the Cobbs Creek neighborhood in West Philadelphia.

Led by Jim Levin and George Bantel, both long- time Reinvestment Fund borrowers, first under Neighborhood Restorations and now as WPRE, the project will continue their block-by-block revitalization strategy that has created over 1,200 units.

The WPRE VII project is a transit-oriented, scattered site development experiencing growth and increased area property values due to recent investments. The plans for WPRE VII consist of the new construction of 13 properties totaling approximately 33,600 square feet and containing 30 residential units.

The units will be rent restricted between 20% and 60% of the area median gross income, of which 16 will rent for 50% AMI or less. The properties will provide 4-one bedroom, 18-two bedroom, 6-three bedroom, and 2-four bedroom units.

WPRE is the product of a forward-thinking team dedicated to providing quality affordable housing while leveraging ecologically sustainable resources throughout development. By designing and constructing all of its developments to achieve LEED Certification from the United States Green Building Council, WPRE ensures each project will minimize its impact on the environment by reducing energy use and efficiently incorporating renewable materials.

All 30 units will meet Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) guidelines, and each unit will attain LEED Silver, Energy Star, and Zero Energy Ready Home Certification.

Development amenities for all units include washers and dryers, private entrances, central air, full kitchens with solid wood cabinets, a refrigerator and a range/oven, new window treatments, and the ground floor units all have private yards.

In addition, the project will contain three community spaces on the first floor of the buildings, which will be leased (for nominal consideration) to local non-profit community groups committed to providing services free of charge to the WPRE VII tenants and the greater 60th Street community.

The site is contiguous to the former Imperial Theatre, a historic movie theater, then skating rink-dance hall-music venue that has been closed since the 1990s. While not part of this project, the sponsor plans to refurbish the façade and reconstruct the central part of the building to serve as event space.

Reinvestment Fund partnered with WPRE (when it was operating as Neighborhood Restorations) for two decades to revitalize and strengthen West Philadelphia. During this time, Reinvestment Fund helped finance 850 of the more than 1,200 homes Neighborhood Restorations developed and nearly 64,000 square feet of commercial space.

In addition, the previous Reinvestment Fund funded development efforts include:

  • Renovation and new construction along South 60th Street.
  • Creating 26 commercial 63 affordable apartments.
  • Six market-rate

Cobbs Creek has stabilized over the past decade and has found a new identity as a stable working-class neighborhood. The improvements and commercial and affordable housing developments along that corridor will continue to have a significant revitalizing and stabilizing effect on 60th Street and the surrounding neighborhood.

This project aligns with Reinvestment Fund’s commitment to investments that both support thriving communities and are sustainable for the environment. The efforts of WPRE to integrate environmentally conscience practices into their development strategy reduce the tenants’ utility costs (increasing the unit’s affordability) and contribute to the health and vitality of the tenants residing within. In addition to its environmental objectives, WPRE provides its tenants with a high quality of living at an affordable price.

For more information contact:

 
 
Robert Cox
Managing Director, Community Lending

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