National Equity Fund

NEF Developments Recognized With PACDC Blue Ribbon Awards

September 17, 2021

Three NEF syndicated developments have been recognized by the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC) as part of their Blue Ribbon Awards. Community Venture’s Susquehanna Square and Mission First Housing Groups’ New Market West were both named as winners, and HACE’s Casa Indiana as a finalist. PACDC is a membership association focused on fostering community development corporations and non-profit community organizations by enhancing their skills and advocating for resources and policies. PACDC Magazine’s Blue Ribbon Awards recognize outstanding achievement development corporations that enhance their vision, “An equitable city where every Philadelphian lives, works, and thrives in a neighborhood that offers an excellent quality of life.”

In our industry, we know an excellent quality of life starts with quality affordable housing. The innovative developments recognized by PACDC expand that quality and push forward a shared vision of affordable housing being available for all who need it, in Philadelphia and across the nation. “NEF is committed to serving the people in Philadelphia through supporting the excellent work of our local partners”, says Emily Chen, NEF regional vice president. “Mission First Housing Groups, Community Ventures, and HACE are using innovative methods to expand the availability of affordable housing to new populations that have a critical need for their developments. This is the essential work that NEF strives to be a part of, and we hope to continue to work with these pioneering developers. It is gratifying to see their hard work recognized by the PACDC.”

Built on the site of a former yarn mill, Casa Indiana is a new 50-unit, four-story, senior apartment building in Philadelphia’s Fairhill neighborhood developed by Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE). The community provides much-needed affordable housing for elders, while at the same time honoring the unique culture of the neighborhood. HACE’s director of operations Harry Tapia says of the development, “Our vision was to develop a diverse, age-friendly community that offers a high quality of life. As a product of this neighborhood myself, it gave me immense pride to be part of the leadership at HACE that developed Casa Indiana.” The building has achieved National Green Building Standard Silver certification and provides its residents with amenities such as a medical office, laundry room, and an on-site management office. In addition, six units are designed for physically disabled persons, and two units are equipped for residents with hearing and/or visual impairments.

Susquehanna Square is a 37-unit, mixed-generation affordable housing development located in North Central Philadelphia near Temple University’s campus. Developed by Community Ventures, the development consists of three new-construction buildings targeted at residents earning below 60% of the Area Median Income, with eight units designated for people experiencing homelessness. Susquehanna Square also features Energy Star–rated appliances and a green roof to help lower tenant expenses and help with management of stormwater. The new construction was designed to fit in seamlessly with the surrounding 19th century rowhomes. The focus on intergenerational housing is a large part of the development’s innovative approach. Jean Hackney, Vice President of Grands as Parents, a local neighborhood organization that helped bring Susquehanna Square into being, says, “Grandparents play such an important role in keeping families together, but they need more resources like this.”

Mission First Housing Group’s New Market West is a multi-phase development built on former vacant and underutilized lots at 59th and Market Streets in Philadelphia. The first completed phase consists of 92,000 square feet of commercial space and 85 underground parking spaces. This space will house several community-enhancing organizations, such as Mercy Health’s senior health center, various supportive services, the office of Councilmember Curtis Jones (who helped jumpstart the development) and much more. Phase II will add 41 units of affordable housing, consisting of 28 one- and 13 two-bedroom apartments, as well as an exercise room, community room, and two laundry rooms. With both the commercial and affordable housing aspects of the development, New Market West will be a significant force in turning the tide of disinvestment that the neighborhood has experienced.

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