Where a protest camp calling for homeless reform in a North Philadelphia community recently stood, a grocery store, other business and residences will soon start to rise.
The Philadelphia Housing Authority was joined by local and federal representatives Wednesday morning to break ground on the 234,000-square-foot, mixed-use Sharswood Ridge project along the 2000 block of Ridge Avenue.
A grocery store will anchor the site, something officials say will serve the Sharswood community that is currently a food desert without a major supermarket.
The site, being developed by private firm Mosaic Development Partners at a cost of $52 million of public and private funding, will include nearly 100 rental units, of which 17 will be provided by PHA, about 44,000 square feet of retail space and a parking garage.
The site is across the street from PHA headquarters. It will also feature a health center and bank.
“This project checks so many boxes for our residents on issues magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke said. “A lack of access to healthy foods – we have a supermarket in this development. Check that box. Access to adequate health care – we have an urgent care coming here. Box checked. Access to banking – a new bank is locating here. Check that box.”
The project, which has been years in the planning, couldn’t be started until the protest camp outside of PHA headquarters that was part of a movement speaking out against homelessness and calling for affordable housing was cleared out earlier this month. The campers left after reaching agreement with PHA.
A PHA spokesperson said the agreement gave those staying there the ability to opt-in to social services from Project HOME and the city that will give them a pathway to permanent affordable housing.
The mixed-use housing and retail development is set to be completed in March 2022, PHA said.
These are the full features of the site, according to PHA:
- A 3-story townhouse style building with 32 rental units
- A parking garage with about 200 parking spaces dedicated to PHA use
- About 30,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor of the garage leased to a supermarket and an urgent care provider
- Two mixed-use buildings that include 66 rental units and 14,000 square feet of retail space, including a bank branch, restaurants, and other retail.
- A plaza separating the mixed-use buildings