The West Powelton, Mantua, and Saunders Park social services organization People’s Emergency Center (PEC) has big plans for the 4200-block of Powelton Avenue. They’re working with community groups to convert 4226-4234 Powelton Ave., an empty lot that was formerly a set of ramshackle buildings, into a seven-unit supportive housing building, which may include a playground and office space.

In the past

Specifically, PEC hopes to house homeless individuals and families that suffer from drug or alcohol abuse, or have a physical or mental disabilities at this development, says Stephanie Wall, PEC’s project manager for this endeavor. The Center is very concerned about community opinion, which is why they’re working with DIGSAU Architecture to develop a building that “fits in with the fabric of the neighborhood,” says Wall. They also decided to table a recent ZBA hearing to receive more input from West Powelton community groups.

Recent shot

This proposed re-development is a part of PEC’s “Make Your Mark” community plan. The plan designates Powelton Ave. west of 40th St. as a neighborhood corridor that’s ripe for re-investment, with vacant buildings one of the chief woes to be tackled, says Wall. Of these vacant buildings, locals indicate 4226-34 Powelton is in desperate need of re-development. “This was a striking negative presence in an otherwise stable block that serves as a gateway to the West Powelton community from Market Street,” stresses Wall.

The most recent rendering, from the Digsau website. We're guessing the design will be a little different.

Funding for this project, should it proceed, will come in part from Philadelphia’s Office of Supportive Housing. The proposed endeavor will benefit low-income individuals and families, will better connect Powelton Village and Saunders Park, and will serve to beautify West Powelton, assures Wall. “It’s supporting the continued enhancement of the neighborhood by transforming major eyesore into an asset,” she says.

–Andy Sharpe