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SHCA monthly board meeting to discuss affordable housing (updated)

January 7, 2019

The Spruce Hill Community Association (SHCA) monthly board meeting will be held this Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Spruce Hill Center (257 S. 45th Street). All community members are invited and welcome to attend.

The guest speaker at this month’s meeting is Nicole Ozdemir from the City Planning Commission. She will join SHCA members to talk about the city’s efforts regarding affordable housing. This will be an informational discussion to educate and update the board on the city’s mixed-income affordable housing bill and related initiatives. Regular committee reports will follow.

Affordable housing is becoming a big problem for Philadelphia, especially in gentrifying neighborhoods like Spruce Hill.

It was reported last month that Mission First Housing Group, one of the largest providers of affordable housing in the city, decided to move ahead with their plans to sell the Arvilla apartment building on the 4500 block of Osage Avenue and elicited protests from neighbors.

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Neighbors protest Arvilla sale; owners say deal nearly final

December 18, 2018

The non-profit owners of the Arvilla, an affordable housing building on the 4500 block of Osage Avenue, insisted on Monday that they will go through with the sale of the building despite pleas from some residents and neighbors.

Representatives of Mission First Housing Group, one of the largest providers of affordable housing in the city, said during a Spruce Hill Community Association (SHCA) zoning meeting that it can’t afford the necessary renovations required to maintain the 14-unit building and will go through with a sale that will likely convert the building to market-rate apartments.

“The costs of modernizing the building are much higher than we can cover,” Mission First’s Director of Business Development Mark Deitcher said. “We have to pull the plug on the building because of the capital needs of the building.”  Continue Reading

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University City population aging slightly, media home sale price tops 400K

December 6, 2018

Rent prices in the University City District leveled off, the number of home sales dropped by a third last year and the population got a little older, according to the annual “State of University City” report released yesterday.

The report covers everything from real estate development to population demographics to tree coverage in the area managed by the University City District (UCD). UCD roughly defines “University City” as the area bounded by the Schuylkill River to the east, 50th Street to the west, Market Street/Powelton Avenue/Spring Garden Street to the north and Woodland Avenue/University Avenue to the south.

Here’s what the report, which covers trends through 2017, shows in key areas:  Continue Reading

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Strong support for ‘5050 Baltimore’ at Cedar Park zoning meeting on Tuesday

October 24, 2018

Developer Ryan Spak, left, discusses “5050 Baltimore” during a zoning meeting at the Calvary Center last night (Photo by West Philly Local).

A 12-unit residential building with ground-floor commercial that includes below-market units proposed for the corner of 51st and Baltimore drew overwhelming support during a Cedar Park Neighbors zoning meeting last night.

Proposed by West Philly-based developer Ryan Spak, “5050 Baltimore” would be a three-story building built on three oddly shaped lots at the triangular corner of 51st and Baltimore. The project needs zoning variances for an additional two residential units. Ten units is allowed by right. The project also needs a variance for a “group practitioner” – a mental health counseling non-profit – which is one of the tenants for the proposed commercial space.  Continue Reading

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Residents evicted at two West Philly apartment buildings safe for now

May 1, 2018

A group of community organizations are standing with residents of Dorsett Court (4710 Locust St.) and Admiral Court (237 S. 48th St.) apartment buildings who were recently given bogus eviction notices to scare tenants out and make way for the sale of the buildings. A court decision has staved off eviction for at least a few more weeks.

Residents and supporters gathered in front of the buildings, which are adjacent on the corner of 48th and Locust, at a rally yesterday organized by the Philadelphia Tenants Union (PTU), a grassroots organization focused on protecting renters from unfair evictions. Community Legal Services and the Public Interest Law Center are also assisting the roughly 70 residents who received the eviction notices. Some video of the event is available on the PTU Facebook pageContinue Reading

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Residents of two apartment buildings at 48th and Locust ‘ordered’ to leave within three weeks (updated)

April 25, 2018

UPDATE: A Dorset/Admiral Court Mass Eviction Rally, hosted by Philadelphia Tenants Union, will take place Monday, April 30, 4-5:30 p.m. at 4710 Locust St. For more information, visit the event Facebook page.

Residents of two apartment buildings, Admiral Court and Dorsett Court, located at 48th and Locust, were told earlier this month to move out by April 30, according to media and neighbor reports. The reason? The owner is reportedly selling the buildings, which include affordable, Section 8 housing.

According to the eviction letter, received by the tenants on April 9, the doors will be locked and utilities will be shut off April 30, so many residents are currently scrambling to find new places to live. About 70 tenants are working with Community Legal Services to determine their rights in this “unlawful” situation, according to a report by Philly.com.

The two four-story buildings include 105 apartments, about 30 percent of which are vacant, according to the report. The prospective buyer hasn’t yet been identified, but demand for market-rate apartments has ballooned in recent years. The buildings are across the street from the newly developed West Lofts (former West Philadelphia High School).  Continue Reading

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