ABOVE PHOTO: PHA totally rehabilitated 17 homes and built 6 new homes on some lots that were empty. Existing facades of houses on Markoe Street were used as much as possible, as well as reusing materials from the existing homes. The design maximizes the use of natural light. These homes are built to the highest energy standards, including Energy Star windows, fixtures, appliances and equipment.
Turning a once blighted block from mean to green, the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) marked the completion of an award winning sustainable development and welcomed new residents in ceremonies in West Philadelphia.
The Markoe Street Homes represent the final segment of the Lucien E. Blackwell Homes, formerly known as Mill Creek. They are located in the 800 block of north Markoe Street, between Brown and Parrish Streets.
The agency totally rehabilitated 17 homes and built 6 new homes on some lots that were empty. Two units are handicap accessible with residential elevators and conform to federal disability requirements.
“Once again, PHA has demonstrated a progressive approach to homebuilding that’s a winner for residents and the environment. Projects such as this one show that PHA is committed to sustainable, green, modern development in the City,” said Michael Kelly, PHA’s Administrative Receiver. “This is another example of stimulus dollars producing both jobs and homes. Our real estate development team had already done planning so we were ready to go when the money became available.”
Existing facades of houses on Markoe Street were used as much as possible, as well as reusing materials from the existing homes. The design maximizes the use of natural light. These homes are built to the highest energy standards, including Energy Star windows, fixtures, appliances and equipment.
Congressman Chaka Fattah (PA-02), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, spoke at the ceremonies, saying, “It is fitting that a pioneer community stabilizing effort, which is now nearing completion with today’s opening, bears the name of Lucien Blackwell. He, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and their family have a long history fighting for this community. I’m proud that I have been able to exercise a leadership role in the demolition of those high rise “warehouse” projects to make room for Blackwell Homes, and to fight for the federal dollars that have made such a difference here in West Philadelphia.”
Prior to redevelopment of the block, PHA held a design competition among young architects to design the project, with the winning entry, by Jibe Design, a small Center City firm. The Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) recognized the design last October with one of its Awards for Design Excellence.
Hundreds of projects were entered in the AIA contest, but only 16, including Markoe Street, received awards.
The Markoe Street Homes were completed in large part because of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, which covered most of the $7.1 million investment.
The Lucien E Blackwell (formerly Mill Creek) HOPE VI redevelopment project has produced almost 700 units of affordable rental and homeownership housing, either through new construction or rehabilitation. PHA plans to rehabilitate nine more homes on Markoe Street.
The Philadelphia Housing Authority is the nation’s 4th largest housing authority, serving more than 80,000 rental residents. PHA is also a major real estate developer. See more at www.pha.phila.gov