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Ambitious reNewBold project clears hurdles, finally ready for construction

Come spring, the long-awaited eco-friendly reNewBold development will be well under construction at 16th and Moore Streets. Planned for the former site of the Francis M. Drexel School, the project is a big step for Newbold, a neighborhood undergoing major revitalization.

Once completed, the project will boast 18 owner-occupied townhomes and one corner commercial space. It’s the first privately financed new construction residential project in the area in well over 50 years. And to top it off, it screams green.

Designed by Interface Studio Architects in conjunction with construction manager Postgreen, the homes will feature bicycle parking, green roofs, bamboo flooring, triple pane windows and on-sight stormwater mitigation practices. The designers are aiming for a 50 percent reduction in energy use from a similarly sized home.

Developer John Longacre of LPMG Companies expects the first phase of the project to be completed before summer, with full build-out anticipated by the end of 2014. "We can have the units built and sold within 18 months of starting construction," he explains.

That achievement is a long time coming for Longacre: Developing this particularly property has been "quite a challenge" due to the arduous process of clearing the property’s title. "It’s taken several years for us to clear the property of numerous liens," he says. "Now we’re finally ready to move forward." 

Longacre sees the project as the "missing piece" in Newbold’s rebirth. "When [LPMG] came down here 10 years ago, there wasn’t much going on," he says. "Since then, we’ve strategically tried to bring businesses and residents to the area and tried to get slumlords to improve their properties."

That mission has been a success -- the area now features numerous South Philly institutions, including Ultimo Coffee, South Philly Tap Room, Miss Rachel’s Pantry and the American Sardine Bar.

Longacre is also aiming for affordability: units will range in cost from $250,000 to $325,000. Despite all the delays, three have already sold. 

Source:  John Longacre, LPMG Companies
WriterGreg Meckstroth
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