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Philly Councilmembers, the Philly Housing Development Corporation and their partners officially broke ground on the first of 1,000 affordable family homes funded by Council's $400M Neighborhood Preservation Initiative.
Philly Councilmembers, the Philly Housing Development Corporation and their partners officially broke ground on the first of 1,000 affordable family homes funded by Council's $400M Neighborhood Preservation Initiative. Photos: Alan Nunez/ Al Día News

Philly Councilmembers break ground on first of 1,000 affordable family homes in South Philly as part of $400M initiative

Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson was joined by Council President Darrell Clarke, the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation and more partners.

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On Monday, Dec. 12, Philadelphia City Councilmembers, the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation and their partners officially broke ground on the first of 1,000 affordable family homes funded by Council's $400M Neighborhood Preservation Initiative (NPI) at 30th & Wharton Streets in the Grays Ferry neighborhood of South Philly. 

“The issue of affordable housing and workforce housing is an opportunity for people who live inside this neighborhood and people will also want to move into the neighborhood to have the opportunity to pick their home with children, and regardless of their checkbook. It's truly an honor and a privilege to be here,” said Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson. 

Along with Johnson at the ground breaking was Councilmember Mark Squilla, Council President Darrel Clarke, Angel Rodriguez, Senior Vice President of Land Management at the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation, Brennan Tomasetti, Owner and Founder of the Civetta Property Group, and Justin Veasey, Co-Founder of the BVG Property Group. 

“Being in a position to provide an opportunity for municipal workers, hospital workers, all those working individuals to buy a home for $230,000 is unprecedented, because the mortgage payment on that house is way less than a two bedroom apartment. And you build equity and family wealth,” Clarke said. 

Photo: Alan Nunez/ Al Dia News

This past April, Clarke announced the program that would result in the building of 1,000 new affordable family homes funded by Council's $400M Neighborhood Preservation Initiative (NPI). 

The Turn The Key: Philadelphia Affordable Home-Ownership Program will also allow eligible first-time home-buyers to buy affordable and newly-constructed three-bedroom homes at the site in Grays Ferry. 

The current initiative is huge for Philly, where affordable family homes are currently in short supply, as the demand for such housing only grows more and more every day. The $400 million neighborhood preservation and revitalization program was created and approved by City Council back in 2020. 

“The bottom line is you can actually make change and make recognizable additions to your community, making sure that affordability is not just a phrase, not just a slogan on the side, but an actuality,” Clarke said. 

The three-bedroom homes are going to be constructed on publicly-owned vacant land in Grays Ferry. More Turn The Key developments are currently planned to be built in other Philly neighborhoods at the beginning of the new year. For the Councilmembers and the property groups involved, the groundbreaking earlier today concludes a successful first year of the NPI program, which also included roughly $100 million in investments for affordable housing development, home-repair funding and revitalization for neighborhoods. 

Construction on the homes will officially begin before the end of this year for the properties in the 2nd Councilmanic District. Additional groundbreakings will be planned for the 1st Councilmanic District in the beginning of next year. 

Photo: Alan Nunez/ Al Dia News

Some of the Turn The Key developers were also in attendance Monday, such as Dawud Bey of Fine Print Companies, Max and Zachary Frankel of Frankel Enterprises, and Mo Rushdy of The Riverwards Group, and they will also be breaking ground on other projects throughout Philly in the near future. 

Councilmembers also shared to the media and people present, NPI’s year one summary report that shows the progress and impact made during the first year of this NPI initiative. In just a year, NPI has given huge investments in several Philly communities through the funding of affordable housing development, home repairs and neighborhood revitalization. 

“Some people say, ‘well $230k is a significant amount of money when we're talking about purchasing a home.’ Nevertheless, people don't know as a result of gentrification, the typical median home price of houses in South Philadelphia is around $500,000. This is an opportunity for us to provide housing for Jefferson Hospital workers, for teachers that work at the Philly School District, and working class people, an opportunity to buy a home in this neighborhood at a great price,” Johnson said. 

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