Delays in the development of the Eastern Tower Community Center at 10th and Vine St. in Chinatown started to make people wonder if it would happen at all. Now, a $3.7M Economic Growth Initiative state grant has injected some new life into the oft-stalled project. Just last February, the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation needed $33M to get the project off the ground. Now, through the grant ($3.7M) as well as foreign investment in the form of federal EB-5 immigrant-visa program ($33M) and bank loans ($19M), the 23-story building is actually one step closer to reality.
The Eastern Tower Community Center will be Chinatown's first such neighborhood amenity. While we may have heard this a few times in the past, groundbreaking is expected to take place sometime early next year, according to the Daily News. Here's the plan for the building:
"a preschool and after-school programming run by the Chinatown Learning Center, a bilingual health center, a gym, offices, retail shops and 143 apartments - 31 of which will be subsidized by PCDC for poor and low-income residents."
The federal EB-5 program is interesting. A report from City Lab labels it a kind "global kickstarter". Instead of getting some for of new-fangled tchochtke, investors gain permanent residency. Check it: "A foreign investor looking for permanent resident status under the EB-5 program needs to invest at least $1 million in a development project—or $500,000, if that investment is targeted in a rural area or a place with a high unemployment rate (150 percent of the national average). The investor has no guarantee on the investment if the project fails, but so long as it creates 10 full-time jobs, the investor and the investor's immediate family can receive conditional permanent resident status. (The condition falls away after two years.)" · State announces grant to help build high-rise near Chinatown [Daily News]
· Developers say Eastern Tower project will be underway by year's end [PlanPhilly]