Mark your calendars: The Norman Blumberg Apartments in Sharswood will be imploded on Saturday, March 19 at 7:15 A.M.
The impending implosion will be the end of the two of three high-rise towers that were built in 1967 in the now blighted Sharswood neighborhood. One tower will remain for senior housing.
It's all part of the PHA's ambitious master plan to revitalize the North Philly neighborhood that fell into disrepair just after the Blumberg was built at 2311 W Jefferson Street. In addition to the development, led by Domus, the PHA plans to include a commercial corridor along Ridge Avenue. However, some critics worry about the PHA's lack of experience in development beyond affordable housing. Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron recently wrote:
In recent years, PHA has done its best work on the tabula rasa sites it created after demolishing high-rise towers. But critics say the agency is less adept at managing infill projects in existing neighborhoods. That's the kind of sensitive development that Sharswood's gap-toothed, 19th-century blocks need.
Construction on low-rise housing has already begun across the street from the Blumberg. And if you're wondering what happened to the current residents, they've been given absolute rights to return to the neighborhood once the development is complete, according to the Norman Blumberg Apartments Multi-Family Section 18 Relocation Plan from June 2015.