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25 Jan 2019

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown to step down

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January 25, 2019 Category: Local Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Councilwoman Reynolds Brown with her fellow councilpersons, Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez and Councilman Curtis Jones. (Photo: Bill Z. Foster)

The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) formally dedicated its new headquarters building at 2013 Ridge Avenue today. The building is part of a multi-phased, mixed use development under the Sharswood/Blumberg Transformation Plan. The housing authority has consolidated a number of offices and functions at this location.

“The opening of our new headquarters here in Sharswood shows that we are keeping our promises to the community,” said PHA president and CEO Kelvin Jeremiah. “Our new property will be an anchor along the Ridge Avenue commercial corridor. By its very design, it is a beacon, a shining light. It is a landmark that neighborhood residents can point to with pride. I want to thank the U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development along with our other partners who have made this jewel possible.”

The modern design of the building with its large glass windows conveys transparency and an outward looking agency. The 5-story building contains approximately 136,000 square feet gross floor area. The building is located on a triangular site along the East side of Ridge Avenue between Jefferson and Master Streets.  The board room on the first floor of the building is named in honor of former Commissioners Nellie Reynolds and Jannie Blackwell for their long service to PHA. Blackwell still serves on City Council and remains instrumental in helping the authority reach its development goals.

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown poses with her staff after her announcement to step down from City Council. (Photo: Bill Z. Foster)

“PHA is making a strong statement about its commitment to the Sharswood neighborhood with the opening of its headquarters here,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The completion of this jewel of a building, the addition of retail businesses, as well as the opening of Vaux Big Picture High School represents tremendous momentum that will help ensure this community’s long-term success.”

 “PHA is living up to its promise to ensure that all Philadelphians, regardless of income, are able to live in a community of choice,” said Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District). “The agency’s investment will create both jobs and services, by placing more residents and workers on the Ridge Avenue corridor while increasing safety. Other cities are watching and this community will set the national standard for housing authorities and affordable housing development.”

The ground floor of the new PHA headquarters will have a bank and a café area. Ideally, these facilities will serve employees and neighborhood residents, and provide those residents with job opportunities as the housing authority works to revive the Ridge Avenue commercial corridor.

PHA’s new home contains 50 parking spaces, including 2 accessible and 3 car share/hybrid parking spaces. It also features 10 Indego bicycle docks along Jefferson Street and 8 Indego bicycle docks along Ridge Avenue, with 10 on-street bike parking spaces along Ridge Avenue, and 16 off-street bike parking spaces located on the property.

“As a longtime resident of Sharswood, I can tell you that the completion of this headquarters complex gives me hope and confidence about the future of the community,” said Darnetta Arce, executive director, Brewerytown-Sharswood Neighborhood Advisory Committee. “I look forward to working with PHA and its other partners to that this transformation plan comes to fruition, making the City of Philadelphia proud.”

The new PHA Headquarters building is designed to achieve LEED Certification rating and shall meet the latest applicable Energy Star Standards. The total investment cost for this new facility is $45 million, with $30 million from bonds and $15 million from PHA funds.

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