Queen Lane Apartments is a sixteen-story anachronism, tracing back to a time that planners thought that public housing towers in Philadelphia would be a good idea. In the last two decades, many PHA towers have been demolished and replaced with town home developments, including at Southwark, MLK, and most recently the Norris Apartments near Temple. Tomorrow, Queen Lane Apartments at 301 W. Queen Ln. will join the ranks of the demolished when it's imploded at 7:15am.
The building was vacated in late 2011 according to Newsworks, with plans to demolish it in the summer of 2012. But the discovery of a hundreds of years old African American burial ground called Potter's Field at the site resulted in pushback from the community and almost scuttled the project. Two years and several compromises from PHA later, the demolition is finally set to take place.
A Hidden City story that also details all the PHA towers that have been demolished over the years suggests that crime rates have dropped considerably at all sites where homes have replaced towers. It stands to reason that the same should happen at Queen Lane. Unfortunately, one side effect is a change in density- from 119 units to 55. And when you consider that over 100,000 people are on the PHA waiting list for affordable housing, you wonder how that gap can ever be conquered.
Does anyone have any creative ideas about what Philadelphia can do about its affordable housing problem? Or is it less an affordable housing problem and more of an income problem that we have, as some have suggested?