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PHA breaks ground on new North Philadelphia HQ

Project is reputed to be the biggest investment in this section of North Philly in over 50 years.
VIPs break ground to kick off construction of the PHA's new offices on Ridge Avenue in North Philly. (Courtesy of the PHA)

In an effort to invigorate a commercial corridor along Ridge Avenue, the Philadelphia Housing Authority broke ground on Wednesday on the North Philadelphia site for its new $45 million headquarters complex.

The complex, reputed as the largest investment in the area since the '60s, is scheduled to be completed by the fall of next year.

“By consolidating its offices into a new headquarters building in Sharswood, PHA is making a strong statement about its commitment to this long-neglected part of our city,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a released statement. “The beginning of construction on this building, and soon a supermarket next door, and a new high school opening in September together represent tremendous momentum that the members of this community have wanted and needed and deserve.”

The complex will consolidate several of PHA’s operations and administrative functions at one site and will feature large glass windows, intended to “convey transparency and an outward looking agency," according to a statement released Wednesday from the PHA.

The new building will be constructed on a triangular site along the east side of Ridge Avenue between Jefferson and Master streets.

According to the PHA, the new five-story building will have approximately 136,000 square feet of floor area, and the ground floor will include a retail area and a café.

The lease to the PHA’s current offices, at 12 S. 23rd St., will run out at the end of March 2018, the agency said in a statement on the groundbreaking.

Also, the statement noted that the agency’s new home will have room for 50 parking spaces and will also feature 18 Indego bicycle docks along Jefferson Street and Ridge Avenue, with room for another 26 bike parking spaces on and around the property.

“The new PHA complex represents a creative approach to revitalizing neighborhoods while making sure all Philadelphians, regardless of income, are able to live in a community of choice,” said Council President Darrell L. Clarke (D-5th Dist.) in a statement. “This $45 million investment in the Sharswood/Blumberg area will create jobs during construction and well after construction, by placing more residents and workers on the Ridge Avenue corridor. Other cities are watching what we do here, so let’s proceed with intention and ensure that this community sets the standard for what affordable housing can achieve.”