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Unveiling a Model for Equitable Living

The development of Eastern Lofts, a $7.6 million mixed-use project in northwest Philadelphia, is proving to be a test case for how to do it right: resident input, nonprofit expertise and private capital combined to rehab a blighted landmark into mixed-income apartments, a day care center serving 80 children, a small business incubator and facilities for community groups. That the project puts housing, job creation and education all in one place, says LISC CEO Michael Rubinger, is a shining example of balanced, equitable development for communities across the country.

The excerpt below is from:
"North Philly blight transforms into model project"
By Ayana Jones, The Philadelphia Tribune

A new $7.6 million mixed-use project located in the Strawberry Mansion section of Philadelphia is being hailed as a model for equitable development.

The former site of an abandoned, blighted historic building has been turned into Eastern Lofts, a development near 30th and Cecil B. Moore Avenue that features 37 loft-style mixed-income apartments, a parking garage, a day care center, small business incubator office space and facilities for community organizations.

The project was spearheaded by Mosaic Development Partners LLC and Mazzarini Real Estate Group LLC.

Gregory Reaves, an official at MDP, gave an overview of the project during a ribbon-cutting event this week. He said it required a creative development team and lenders who were willing to invest.

“This isn’t something that traditional lenders look at,” Reaves said. “This is a development that is not always easy to see the real value that we see in bringing communities together. We talk about doing great things one block at a time, but really taking one block and doing something unique in a community where they have been historically disenfranchised.”

[ ... ]

The developers’ other project partners included the Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Philadelphia, U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, Cedarcove Ventures, State Farm, PIDC, McKissack Construction and Interface Studio Architects.

LISC CEO Michael Rubinger said the Eastern Lofts would serve as an example of development projects that his organization sought to undertake in communities across the country.

“I think this particular project is very special because it combines mixed income housing with small business development, with job creation and with space for high-quality childcare for 80 neighborhood children,” Rubinger said.

“In short, it combines housing with economic development [and] with education – the kind of balanced, equitable neighborhood development that we believe leads to lasting and meaningful change,” he said. Continued[+]...

Also see:

"New to Philly: Affordable Housing, No Roof Necessary," Next City

Philly's Eastern Lofts has already created 30 full-time jobs.