As part of the North of Lehigh Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, the New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC) is planning to redevelop the site of the former Orinoka Mills textile factory in Kensington into 51 low to moderate income apartments. The dilapidated five-story warehouse located at the intersection of Ruth and Somerset Streets dates back to the late 1800s and will be renamed the Orinoka Mills Complex. According to Hidden City, the back half of the original complex was demolished in 2011 due to falling brickwork. While it's currently owned by the city of Philadelphia, plans are in place to transfer the ownership over to the NKCDC, who will move its headquarters to the new complex, once a settlement hearing is held. Costs of the renovations for the building are estimated at $16.2 million — which the NKCDC hopes will be mostly covered by tax credits and loans. As Sandy Salzman of the NKCDC told Star, "It's gonna be a gamechanger for that neighborhood."
Given that one of Philly's notorious drug corners — the corner of Somerset Street and Kensington Avenue — is a few steps away from the former warehouse, the hope is that this project can revitalize the community. Genevieve Geer of the Somerset Neighbors for Better Living community group told Star, "Having a giant gorgeous building, well-lit, humming along, a place to walk you dog to, or bring a picnic to the green space out back, is like, sort of a miracle for that corner!" If all goes according to plan, construction will begin in the summer of 2015 in the hopes of a summer 2016 opening date.
· Gamechanger: NKCDC to develop the former Orinoka Mills textile factory [Star]
· Orinoka Mills [Ghost Sign Project]
· Demolished Buildings of 2011, Part One [Hidden City]