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June 28, 2024

Restoration project on 3 West Philly high-rises gets $21 million boost to connect complex to transit

The Philadelphia Housing Authority is aiming to begin construction on the 1,000-unit buildings by the end of this year.

Real Estate Redevelopments
Westpark Apartments PHA Chris Compendio/PhillyVoice

These three high-rise residential buildings of Westpark Apartments, located near 44th and Market streets, have been vacant since 2022. PHA is hoping to begin construction for redevelopment later this year.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority has been working to transform three 62-year-old high-rise buildings in West Philly to be the centerpiece of a thriving community, and it got a $21 million boost this week to put toward its efforts. 

The redevelopment of the Westpark Apartments public housing site, which is located near 44th and Market streets in West Powelton, will include the restoration of its 327 low-income rental units and the construction of mid-rise buildings and townhomes, which will bump the site's capacity to at least 1,000 units. 

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On Tuesday, the housing authority announced that it received a federal grant of about $21.4 million from the Department of Transportation that will be used to create a new street grid and pedestrian infrastructure to connect the campus to SEPTA's 46th Street Station on the Market-Frankford Line. 

"This is more than building apartments — it's a community revitalization initiative," PHA President and CEO Kelvin A. Jeremiah said. "... Residents led this process, wanting to make sure that the site will be reconnected to the city streetscape."

Westpark Apartments renderProvided Image/Philadelphia Housing Authority

A rendering of the redeveloped Westpark Apartments campus depicts additional roads, walkways and bike lanes, with townhouses and mid-rise buildings.

The authority, which contracted New York-based companies LMXD, an affiliate of L+M Development Partners, and MSquared to execute the redevelopment, projects costs at around $500 million. PHA is seeking additional funds by applying for a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and low-income housing tax credits from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

When federal funding for PHA began drying up around 1999, the buildings fell into disrepair. Rather than demolish or sell the towers, the authority opted for redevelopment to continue providing affordable housing in the area.

Westpark Apartments towers sideChris Compendio/PhillyVoice

Redevelopment of the Westpark Apartments campus will include additional roads and bike lanes connecting the complex to the Market-Frankford Line station at 46th Street.

"This is part of making sure that we as an agency and a city are maintaining affordability in areas where we see rapidly changing rents, areas that are becoming unaffordable to low- and moderate-income individuals and families," Jeremiah said.

Westpark comparisonProvided Image/Philadelphia Housing Authority

This image demonstrates what the first phase of redevelopment construction at Westpark Apartments would look like compared to how the area appears now.

PHA is aiming to begin the first phase of construction by the end of this year, which will consist of renovating the three towers and the one-to-one replacement of over 300 residential units. The second phase is planned to begin next year, adding around 675 units to get closer to the 1,000-unit target. Jeremiah expects construction to last between 15 to 18 months.

"We're moving fast," he said. "Families are excited. Relocated families (who were vacated from Westpark in 2022) want to return, and they have a fundamental right to return to one of those 1,000 units."