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PRA looking to re-develop land in bustling Francisville

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) has begun the process of marketing an 18,500-square foot parcel of land in the fast-growing Francisville neighborhood. The parcel, which is on the 1700-block of Folsom St. and is zoned R (Residential)-10, currently consists of vacant land, which is located next to three Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) houses, and one market-rate residence, says Leigh Jones, a project manager within the PRA. The current residences could represent a further development opportunity.  A pre-submission conference was held last week to interested developers and community groups.

“We’re really excited about the Francisville neighborhood,” says Jones, who adds that it’s five blocks from the Fairmount Broad Street Subway Station and near parks and green space. In addition, it’s situated not far from Fairmount Ave, which has ample dining, shopping, and café options. 

The Francisville Neighborhood Development Corporation (FNDC) has some very strong opinions about what it would and would not like to see go into the PRA property.

“We [Francisville] are over-saturated with affordable housing,” says Penelope Giles, the executive director of FNDC. “The neighborhood is not going to accept any more subsidized affordable housing.” Instead, Giles hints that two or three bedroom condominiums would be a great fit for the neighborhood. 

The Redevelopment Authority will gather submissions from developers for the property through June 21. She says that submissions should include a development pro forma and financial plan, a statement of qualifications and financial responsibility and a Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprise (MBE and WBE) plan. 

As of the pre-submission conference, the PRA admitted it has not yet talked with the PHA about the three existing public housing properties. Instead, they're leaving it up to the developers to contact the PHA themselves. The parcel of land runs from 1716 to 1726 Folsom St. and then from 1730 to 1750 Folsom. 703-705 N. 18th St. is also affected. The developers in the room certainly sounded interested, representing Community Ventures, Altman Management Company, Loonstyn Properties, Pennrose Properties, and Universal Companies.

Sources: Leigh Jones, PRA and Penelope Giles, FNDC
Writer: Andy Sharpe

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