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Mt. Vernon Manor cuts ribbon on 75 affordable apartments in the Mantua neighborhood

October 15, 2013

LISC was joined by resident community members, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, and other public officials to celebrate the completion of Phase I renovations for Mt. Vernon Manor Apartments.

Mt. Vernon Manor is a community-based housing organization located in the Mantua section of Philadelphia. Mt. Vernon Manor Phase I is a 75-unit apartment complex, with one, two, and three-bedroom affordable apartments located near 33rd and Wallace. Construction began in September 2012 and was completed in September 2013.

Mt Vernon Ribbon Cutting playground

“Mt. Vernon Manor is the type of investment the 3rd District needs,” said Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell. “I support this project because it gives the community access to quality housing that they can afford. I know how hard people are working to support their families, and they deserve to live in a decent residence and neighborhood that they can call home.”

Mt Vernon Ribbon Cutting Blackwell

The completion of Phase I marks a significant milestone in recent efforts to revitalize the Mantua community. A partnership between LISC and Mt. Vernon Manor has been central to that effort. After Mount Vernon Manor was awarded a HUD Choice Neighborhoods planning grant in 2011, LISC’s community engagement specialist  facilitated the participation of over 200 residents in a HUD Choice planning process that led to the completion of the Mantua Transformation Plan in July 2013.

LISC efforts have also led to an award of $600,000 in new Department of Justice funds to Mt. Vernon Manor for community safety; the creation of the Mantua Civic Association; the creation of the McMichael School Advisory Council; a strategic partnership with nearby anchor institution Drexel University; and a collaboration to revitalize a community greenway along Mantua Avenue.

“These apartments will remain affordable, even as rental and sales values in this community continue to rise,” said Brian Abernathy, Interim Executive Director, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. “This neighborhood is in the process of dramatically transforming. The increase in housing developments to cater to the area university students and staffs created a gap for individuals in need of affordable quality housing. Mount Vernon Manor will help fill that gap.”

Amenities in the apartments include modern kitchens and baths, new floors, a camera driven security system, a community room and offices, upgraded exterior finishes, and landscaping. There are also five fully accessible apartments for persons with physical disabilities (including one unit for those that are visually or hearing impaired).

“The former design and operations of the apartment buildings were a deterrent to the community,” said Michael Thorpe, Chairman of the Mt. Vernon Manor Board. “This new design will encourage businesses, homeowners, and tenants to invest in the neighborhood, making it a great place to live and work.”

Mt Vernon Ribbon Cutting1

“Mt. Vernon Manor had fallen into disrepair, with a high vacancy rate within the last 10 years,” said Roy Diamond, President of Diamond & Associates, development consultant to the project. “The Mt. Vernon Manor Board believed in revitalizing this complex, and we knew that the investment would change this community.”

Each kitchen has energy efficient appliances, which reduces utility bills for residents and positively impacts the environment. The units meet Energy Star® Standards and Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s (PHFA) standards for Preservation projects.

Mt Vernon Ribbon Cutting MThorpe RDiamond

“This project was funded with monies from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program,” said Deborah McColloch, Director, Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD). “It fulfills the mission of NSP (Neighborhood Stabilization Program) by taking a community that was negatively affected by the collapse of the housing market and the changes in the economy, and giving it a chance to thrive. OHCD is committed to creating opportunities to provide sustainable, quality, and affordable housing for Philadelphia residents. I am also proud to note that 155 construction workers were employed as a result of this project.”

The overall Mt. Vernon Manor project is a total of nine buildings, spanning eight blocks. Fifty additional apartments in three buildings are planned for revitalization by Mt. Vernon Manor, Inc. in Phase II, and is expected to be completed by 2015.

 

Original article published by Philadelphia Office of Housing and Community Development at http://www.phila.gov/ohcd/PRESS.HTM

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