Off-campus housing complex breaks ground

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ABI REIMOLD TTN Greg Reaves, principal of Mosaics Development Partners, attends the groundbreaking ceremony for a new housing complex at 10th and Diamond streets on Friday, Oct. 29.

A housing complex will target football players and students to fill its living spaces.

Partners constructing a student housing complex at 10th and Diamond streets celebrated the future building with a ground-breaking ceremony, on Friday, Oct. 28.

The building, Diamond Green, will provide 92 living-units for students at an estimated $650 per month, as well as a deli, daycare center, fitness center and limited indoor parking.

The complex is expected to be complete August 2012.

Four floors of student living units will rise over retail and dining areas on the first floor. All bedrooms are designed for one person, with one bathroom for every two students.

Each living unit will have a balcony and there will be indoor and outdoor common space.

Mosaics Development Partners, a limited liability realty development company based in Philadelphia, initiated the project, and worked with Metamorphosis Community Development Corporation for access to the location. Orens Brothers Real Estate Inc. will be heading the construction.

Last month, the Philadelphia Business Journal estimated the project to cost $20 million.

Metamorphosis, described in the project’s press release as “a corporation that focuses on the healthy growth and enrichment of low-income, African American communities surrounding Temple University’s campus,” hopes that the project will bring students out of homes in neighborhoods and consolidated into one space.

Recently, students living directly off campus have been the subject of tensions with community members, leading the university to create a task force to better assess the situation.

“People in the community would like to see the students out of the community because this is a residential area and a lot of us are trying to raise kids or retired,” said Alfred Lowry, Metamorphosis president, at the 11 a.m. celebration.

“You know how students are,” Lowry said. “They like to have their little parties…and we have to call and notify and try to bring them down.”

Greg Reaves, principal of Mosaics, agreed.

“We want to give students high-quality living options without putting a burden on the community to get the kids out of the further components of North Philadelphia,” Reaves said.

“One of the issues the neighborhood has is when duplexes and triplexes of students get scattered throughout the neighborhood,” added Scott Orens, owner of Orens Brothers. “The nice thing about this project is that there will be front desk security and more control. It will just be a different situation rather than scattering students through the neighborhood.”

The building’s planners hope to attract football players with the complex’s proximity to the Edberg-Olson practice facility, which will also be undergoing renovations and an expansion.

“We’re trying to support the football team because they have to come from back and forth just to practice when they could be located right in this one area,” Lowry said.

Diamond Green is expected to create jobs for community members both in its construction and completion.

“Part of our commitment to the neighborhood and the project is to employ people from this area, and we are doing our best efforts to get the people that want to work in this neighborhood employed on the job,” Orens said.

Abi Reimold can be reached at abi.reimold@temple.edu.

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