Fifty-five new affordable apartments are coming to the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood next to Fairmount Park.
Last Friday the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) broke ground on the $23 million Strawberry Mansion Apartments, which will bring 55 energy-efficient homes to a three-square block area bounded by 33rd Street to the west, Arlington Street to the north, 32nd Street to the east, and Berks Street to the south.
The groundbreaking marks the start of final phase of PHA’S development in Strawberry Mansion. Prior to the Strawberry Mansion Apartments, the PHA built two other affordable housing developments, including Oakdale apartments, which opened in 2015 and had more than 400 people apply to live in its 12 available units. In a similar case, an affordable housing project in Kensington recently had more than 600 applications for its 51 rentals.
Applications have not yet opened yet for the Strawberry Mansion Apartments. But they will all be leased to families earning 60 percent of the area median income or less. Another 10 percent of the units will be reserved for families earning 20 percent of the area median income or less.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Council President Darrell L. Clarke said, "A quality home near attractive amenities like Fairmount Park should be a dream that's within reach for every Philadelphian.”
The units will be a mix of walk-up apartments and townhomes, ranging from one- to four-bedrooms. A number of the homes will also be designed to be ADA compliant and for the hearing and/or visually impaired. They’ll also be energy efficient and will feature Energy Star appliances.
The groundbreaking comes at an interesting time for Strawberry Mansion, a neighborhood that’s suffered for years from neglect and high poverty rates. But in recent years, there’s been a renewed investment in the neighborhood, which sits right along Fairmount Park and above Brewerytown. A recent report found that there were 37 building permits for new construction issued in Strawberry Mansion in 2016— a huge increase given the fact that in 2011 just one permit was issued there.
When construction on Strawberry Mansion Apartments finishes up, there will be a total of 100 affordable housing units in the neighborhood.