PHA announces $238 million in new construction
          PHILADELPHIA, PA- The Philadelphia Housing Authority and its private market partners are about to launch construction projects at six sites, which will result in more than 700 more homes, and two office buildings at a cost of about $238 million. 

    PHA Executive Director Carl Greene says the ongoing PHA building boom is great news for Philadelphia neighborhoods and the building industry. 

    "A point that we have emphasized throughout our construction endeavors is that we add value and create wealth in neighborhoods by building the highest quality affordable housing." 

    Past studies have documented that when PHA redevelops a neighborhood property values grow much faster than the overall rate in the city, plus there is an impact on the regional economy by virtue of the jobs and services that go with the project. 

    But the biggest news is the creation of more housing. The largest of the PHA developments is a 160-home community in the Ludlow section of North Philadelphia. The homes will be scattered throughout the neighborhood, not built on one large conventional PHA-owned site. 

    Another 80 homes are going up at Marshall Shepard Village, a portion of PHA's continuing investment in West Philadelphia. 

    In North Philadelphia, PHA breaks ground in March on a 64-apartment senior building next to the agency's Johnson Homes site. This facility, called Nellie Reynolds gardens, will also have a 12,000 square foot Living Independently for Elders (LIFE) Center on the ground floor. In East Falls, PHA is building 28 affordable homes for sale at its Falls Ridge site, where 135 rental units are already occupied. 

    In addition to construction beginning on these homes, PHA is building a 30,000 square foot office and training building on the grounds of Greater Grays Ferry Estates in South Philadelphia. Also in South Philadelphia, PHA begins construction in April of an 80,000 square foot office building on the site of the former Passyunk Homes, demolished in 2002. 

    Aside from these projects, PHA has sold property to private companies to build homes for sale at full market rate. Westrum Company is building 128 homes at Falls Ridge, and The DePaul Group will begin construction on 275 homes on the old Passyunk site. DePaul has not yet announced when it will begin construction, but the first shovel is expected to go into the ground in spring or summer of 2007. 

    The combined development cost of the Westrum and DePaul developments is $121 million. Combined with the $117 PHA is investing in its projects, these construction jobs total $238 million. An earlier study by Econsult Corp. estimated that every dollar spent on PHA construction results in $2.50 in economic impact on the region. 

    Carl Greene puts the investments in perspective. "PHA has found a way over the past several years to serve our clients, our neighborhoods and the regional economy all at the same time. Unfortunately, with drastic funding cuts now hitting us from Washington, we simply won't be able to do that much longer." 

PHA is building 28 homes for sale to families of modest income at its Falls Ridge site in East Falls while Westrum Company will build 128 homes on the site for sale at full market rate. PHA already has 135 affordable rental units on the site.

PHA is building an 80,000 square foot office and storage building on the site where the agency demolished its Passyunk Homes project in 2002. The DePaul group plans to build 275 homes for sale at market rate on the site.