The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) imploded two high-rises at the site of the Norman Blumberg Apartments in North Philadelphia as part of the Sharswood/Blumberg Transformation Plan.
The transformation of the community will take place over a period of several years, with the total investment estimated at over $500 million, with an economic impact of over $1 billion, according to PHA leaders.
The plan calls for reconnecting 23rd Street between Jefferson and Oxford Streets, eliminating the street-less superblock on which the site is built, and restoring the development’s integration in the neighborhood. A second connector, Bucknell Street, will be added between 23rd and 24th Streets to improve the navigation neighborhood streetscape.
The plan represents an alignment of resources and partners across all levels of government: federal, in a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant from HUD; state, in a low-income housing tax credit award; and city, in both a HOME grant from the Office of Housing and Community Development and in support from the Office of the Mayor and from the City Council President. PHA is also working with Public Health Management Corp. and Project HOME to provide health and wellness services to the community.
Last June, the Philadelphia City Council approved the agency’s plan to acquire nearly 1,300 parcels of land, comprising 800 private and 500 public parcels. The overwhelming majority of those parcels is vacant land or blighted structures. This assemblage was critical to the the transformation plan and to maintain affordability in the area. Approximately 70 properties in the neighborhood or 6% of all properties were occupied.
The Norman Blumberg Apartments in North Philadelphia dates back to the 1960s, and was first occupied in 1967. The eight-acre site was extremely dense and contained 510 units in two 18-story towers, a 13-story senior citizen high-rise, and 15 low-rise buildings. The senior high-rise will remain but will be rehabbed and modernize for seniors. The now obsolete low-rise buildings will also be demolished.
Here is WPVI-TV's coverage of the event.