In her latest column, Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron writes about the new North Philadelphia development Paseo Verde, calling it “a trifecta of socially responsible development.” And it achieves what seems almost impossible: it “makes peace with gentrification.” If development around Ninth and Berks were to follow “the usual Philadelphia script,” says Saffron, there would be two possibilities:
Either the neighborhood would surrender to developers and allow a construction free-for-all. Or, it would dig in, using its political power to hold onto the acres of vacant land in the hope that someone, some day, might build subsidized housing.
Instead residents found a third, and better, way…
The four-story apartment house makes peace with gentrification by accepting high-end, modern apartments as a fact of life. But it also ensures that longtime residents will have a good place to live if the area takes off and prices spike.
To achieve that tricky balance, nearly half of Paseo Verde’s 129 units are set aside for low-income residents at reduced rents. The other 67 go for market rates. After a quiet opening in the fall, Paseo Verde is now home to a mix of Temple University students, professionals, and low-wage workers.
The housing complex was developed by the nonprofit Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha and the for-profit Jonathan Rose Companies. The design is by WRT’s Antonio Fiol-Silva.
The result? “A utopian experiment in mixed-income living” — and it ain’t bad looking either.
Read more of Saffron’s column:
• Renovation of playground over cemetery is halted [Inquirer]
• Drexel to purchase University City High School [Daily Pennsylvanian]
• Ed Sweeney, ex-Ironworkers leader, pleads not guilty [Daily News]