PHA begins final phase of Norris Apartments development

The project, located next to the SEPTA regional rail station, will consist of 133 residential units and one commercial space.

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.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority, along with community members and City Council members, broke ground on Phase V of the Norris Homes project at 11th and Norris streets on Jan. 15. | JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

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.

Philadelphia Housing Authority President and CEO Kelvin Jeremiah, along with Philadelphia Director of the Division of Housing & Community Development Melissa Long, speaks at the Groundbreaking Ceremony of Norris Homes Phase V at 11th and Norris streets on Jan. 15. | JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

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.

2 Comments

  1. Sounds excellent as a former tenant whom lived with my Mother Hilda G Hanna at 1036 west Norris street..she was force out, But she unfortunately has passed away. Will Her children be able to purchase a home as well?

  2. My mother lived in this project for forty years helping other families and their childeen. Although she had seven of her own she gave much from food, child care and much love. she gone home to glory now but, she would have loved to see how the Neighorhood has change. When I drove by to see my childhood house 1902 gone it brought back many happy years.

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