After numerous years in the planning stages, after zoning has been cleared, and after one developer left the project, the New Kensington Community Development Corporation's mixed-housing development, formerly known as Moyer St. Townhomes—now, known simply as Awesometown is underway via a collaboration with Postgreen Homes.
They broke ground two weeks ago on the site located on the 400 block of Moyer Street. The project will bring 14 townhomes in two phases. The homes will seek LEED Platinum certification and include sustainable elements like improved rainwater collection abilities, and solar thermal capacities. Phase 1 will include 8 townhomes on the 400 block of Moyer St., followed by a Phase 2 that builds six more homes with Thompson Street addresses. So far, six of the homes have sold, including four of the homes marked for affordable housing. Pre-sale of homes before building is an element Postgreen Homes uses to leverage with banks when developing new projects. About five years ago, after the initial partner failed to get funding and left, Postgreen partnered with NKCDC to continue the vision.
“The model just didn't work for any bank,” said Chad Ludeman of Postgreen about the original project. “We kind of inherited that model and adapted a new model.”
Postgreen is already known for its green projects, like the 100K House, and the 2.5 Beta House (which was the prototype for this project). It was their role to create a team that could take the foundation of a project that was already in place in theory, and design a fitting home and sell it to the bank on paper. For that, they turned to ISA Architects. Phase 2 is somewhat dependent on the success of Phase 1. Right now, builders are conducting all necessary site work, and pouring foundations for 14 homes, sidewalks and driveways. Building should begin this winter, with the first homes delivered by the middle of 2015.
Awesometown represents a unique funding model, according to Ludeman. You often see for-profits like Postgreen partner with non-profits, like the NKCDC, to access grants and money only available for non-profits. But here, the partnership is using private money, a bank loan. We're thrilled to see that NKCDC stuck with this project through the years and The Great Recession, and came to find a quality partner in Postgreen. As such, building in Fishtown on the blocks near I-95 just off East Girard, continues to bowl forward.