With a Choice Neighborhoods grant from the feds, the Mantua neighborhood launched a community planning effort in 2012 and eventually released the Mantua Transformation Plan to convey their hopes and dreams to the City, local CDCs, and developers. At around the same time, the Mount Vernon Manor CDC received funding to rehab some old affordable housing buildings called Mount Vernon Manor, which dated back to the late 1970s. Those buildings are a series of nine infill apartment buildings which were looking pretty much useless for some years, although it seems some of them were inhabited. Phase 1 of the project only targeted six of the buildings and about 75 units, due to limited funding at that time. We covered this first phase back in 2013 and thought the product turned out quite nice. Last year, Mount Vernon Manor received a second grant for the redevelopment of the remaining buildings.
To give you an idea of the scope of this renovation project, this building is located on Mantua Avenue between 32nd and 33rd Streets and is one of three that are being rehabbed, totaling 48 units. Here's a map of all three buildings:
As you can see, the facades and new entrances on the building above are mostly complete. We can't speak to the job they're doing on the interiors, though.
This project is one of the more visible initiatives of a group of organizations working on the West Philadelphia Promise Zone, which is a federal initiative aimed at concentrating funding and other resources in particularly tough areas to bring the population out of poverty. This is an area, like so many in Philadelphia, which has suffered extreme population loss, crime, and continuing abandonment for the past few decades. It seems that this confluence of the right organizations and objectives, and a bit of a push from private developers, is delivering some solid results and will hopefully benefit those who have been living there all those years. At the very least, it's great to see construction in this area that isn't exclusively targeting the student population.