North Philly’s Paseo Verde aims to bridge Temple, community

Mayor travels to site by train with developer Jonathan Rose and City Council President Darrell Clarke.

Paseo Verde translates to “green walk,” and developers hope the $48 million mixed use residential and retail project at 9th and Berks streets will serve as a connector in more than one way.

There’s the cobbled-together partnership of project developers and funding streams that some officials called “unprecedented” at today’s groundbreaking, consisting of about 60 organizations and individuals representing all manner of federal, state and city agencies.

There’s the gap between “sustainable” and “affordable” based on an ingrained stereotype that the two concepts are simply at odds. President of the Asociacion Puertorriquenos en Marcha Nilda Ruiz cited Paseo Verde’s green roofs, permeable paving and solar panels alongside its wallet-friendly rent. “It’s a combination of green architecture and affordable living,” she said.

There’s the seemingly counterintuitive idea of “transit-oriented development,” locating residents adjacent to transit hubs rather than providing a buffer between them. The development is steps away from the Temple University Regional Rail Station, SEPTA’s fourth busiest stop. In addition to contributing funding, SEPTA has pledged to install new bike racks, improve lighting and landscape the area.  

Perhaps most in need of connecting is the chasm between Temple University and longtime residents of the North Central Philadelphia neighborhood. The latter have blamed the school and its students for quality of life violations and displacement due to an ever-expanding campus and raised rents. The former have leveled complaints of hostile behavior from the so-called lifers.

“What I see this doing is helping with the balance of the neighborhood,” said state Sen. Shirley Kitchen. “Nowadays, new or reformed neighborhoods – whatever word you want to use – it’s poor people, affluent people, you even have students on your block,” she said. “It’s one block fits all, not like in the old days when people had the same basic goals in common. I see this as a balance.”

Paseo Verde will feature mixed income rental units, offices, an on-site primary care center and pharmacy and ground level retail. “The retail enhances it for both new and existing residents,” City Council President Darrell Clarke said.

In addition to providing services that will cater to a variety of populations, Paseo Verde’s living spaces will help ameliorate concerns of residents who worry the university is pushing them out. “I think, in particular, because it was developed by a local community organization with a long track record of inclusiveness and has funding that ensures families will have affordable housing, it has had a good reception,” Clarke said.

“I’m really excited about being here at the groundbreaking, but I’m more excited about the ribbon cutting, which will hopefully happen in 18 to 24 months,” said David Walsh of financing partner JP Morgan.

A different divide

Aside from bridging differences between Temple students and North Philadelphia residents, the project seems to signify a period of goodwill in the sometimes fractious relationship between Mayor Michael Nutter and Council President Darrell Clarke.

“I used to sit across from the mayor in City Council and it could get a little competitive. We always wanted to see who could get more shovels,” Clarke said, referring to the keepsakes given out at development groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings. “Now, we share shovels.”

“Councilman Clarke and I may build an Art in City Hall project just with shovels from across the city,” Nutter joked.

By the numbers

$47.27 million. Total cost of project.

$41 million. Loans and investments from signature financing partner JP Morgan.

$6 million. Pennsylvania’s contribution, through Redevelopment Assistance and Department of Community and Economic Development funds.

$5.55 million. Contribution from the city of Philadelphia through HOME funds, the Housing Trust Fund and the Department of Commerce.

$1 million. Contribution from SEPTA.

206,000. Paseo Verde’s size, in square feet.

30,000. Square feet of ground level retail.

7,700.

Passengers served daily at the nearby Temple University Regional Rail station.

120. Mixed income apartment rental units in the development.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.