Socially Conscious Developers Build a Bastion of Affordability in Philly

Inga Saffron reports on the redevelopment of a 19th-century brick mill into workforce housing in Philadelphia's South Kensington neighborhood; a project that proves virtue need not come at the expense of profit for one Philadelphia-based developer.

Saffron explain the unique concept behind Oxford Mills, a 114 unit adaptive re-use rental project, that "is being built by a private company, D3 Real Estate, which intends to market the units as affordable housing to teachers, especially novices working in programs like Teach for America, and others who fall into the growing category known as 'the working poor.'"

She describes the philosophy shared by Greg Hill and Gabe Canuso, former high-end residential developers, and founders of socially conscious D3, and their commitment to keeping prices affordable for their future tenants.

"Because D3 and [partners Seawall Development] are for-profit companies, they had to cobble together subsidies, mostly federal tax credits, to be able to offer reduced-price rents," explains Saffron. "Because the mill dates from 1875 and is in a 'distressed' neighborhood, it qualified for both historic and New Markets tax credits. Together, those programs cut the cost of the $36 million project by roughly 40 percent. They are not actually obligated by those programs to charge reduced rents, but Hill and Canuso say they are committed to subsidizing rents for the long term, even if the neighborhood gentrifies."

"In the collaborative way it has been financed and planned, Oxford Mills also promises to be a model for maintaining pockets of affordability in Philadelphia's increasingly affluent core," she concludes.

Full Story: Changing Skyline: Cool affordable housing for young teachers

Comments

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.
$36.00
Book cover of Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.
$18.95