The Philadelphia Housing Authority and Jonathan Rose Companies, a national development firm, broke ground on the fifth and final phase of the Norris Apartments public-housing development today.
Norris Phase V, located on Berks Street near 10th will consist of 133 mixed-income rental units and one commercial space, replacing a previous 147-unit low-rise public housing development that was built in the late 1950s, according to a PHA release.
The entire Norris Apartments project costs $125 million, said Nick Dema, PHA’s executive vice president of planning and development.
The project is partially funded by a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which was awarded to Philadelphia in 2014. Together with Temple University and more than 40 other partners, the City of Philadelphia created a “resident-driven North Central Philadelphia transformation plan” to secure the grant, according to the release.
“These funds allowed us to directly address the neighborhood’s housing stock, access to employment, education, social service programs, and greatly impact Philadelphia’s overall economy,” Mayor Jim Kenney said, as per the release.
PHA began demolition of the existing Norris Homes in 2018, promising occupants the right to return without having to reapply, The Temple News reported.
The five phases will replace the original 147 houses with 297.
Some former residents have already begun living in houses constructed in earlier phases of the project, according to the release. All but three residents who left will be returning, said Donna Richardson, the president of the Norris Community Resident Council.
“We want all our neighborhoods to be communities of choice, and the creation of 133 apartments and low and moderate income families in the heart of North Philadelphia is a very positive development in our ongoing efforts to achieve that goal,” said Council President Darrell Clarke, whose district encompasses Main Campus, according to the release.
Residents began moving into homes built under Phase III of Norris Apartments on 11th Street near Norris in December 2019, Dema said, though the units will not be finalized until mid-February.
Phase I and IV of the project have been combined and will include 30 units, with some being located near the Phase III homes and others located on 8th Street between Berks and Susquehanna Avenue, Dema said.