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A development with 'social impact' at 8th and Race?

One of the city's largest and most central vacant lots -- Race Street between 8th and 9th -- is the subject of an RFP from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. They are looking for an impact that goes beyond profit.

Later this month, PRA will release a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the lot. For the first time, the Authority will require developers to describe the “social impact” of their development proposals. The social impact component is open-ended, including anything from affordable housing and minority-business participation to healthy food access, job creation, or even simple cash donations to nonprofits or community groups. Greg Heller, the director of the PRA, says he’s just hoping to be convinced that a particular proposal will be the best one for the neighborhood and the city.

“PRA’s mission is to return publicly owned land to active use in a way that benefits people and communities,” Heller wrote in an email. “Scoring projects in part based on their social impact is a way of making sure that we are fulfilling that mission and our responsibility to the public.”

...The lot at 8th and Race has 80,000 square feet of buildable area, and PRA has been assembling it since the 1980s, according to Heller. It’s zoned for commercial use and doesn’t have many limits on the scale of development, so a developer could potentially put something very big on the site. The property is one of several, along with the Police Department’s “Roundhouse” and several federal buildings, that form a weird borderland between Chinatown and Old City.

Original source: Philadelphia Magazine
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