The Hispanic Association of Contractor & Enterprises (HACE) is a non-profit community development corporation (CDC) founded in 1982 to jumpstart economic development in Philadelphia’s Latino neighborhoods. Their mission is to “combat community deterioration through economic development initiatives that address commercial revitalization, employment opportunities, the creation of safe affordable housing, and the provision of support services to meet the needs of community residents towards re-building the neighborhood’s economic base.” The CDC primarily focuses on the area from 6th St. to B St. and Lehigh Ave. to the AMTRAK rail line. HACE has “leveraged over $100 million in housing and commercial development projects and other investments in the Fairhill and St. Hugh Neighborhoods” over the last 20 years.
It looks like one of the projects HACE has in the pipeline recently received new construction permits. The CMX 2.5 zoned parcels at 2739-2747 N. 5th St. and the RSA-5 lots behind them on Orkney St. were combined in November of 2018. The plan for the erection of a 48.5 foot tall building with 30 residential units, ground floor commercial space, and no car parking spots was also approved last winter. Just last week, new construction permits were issued for the project. We walked by the project location today, and no work has started, but we are hopeful that ground is broken soon.
The project is located on El Centro de Oro (the Golden Center), which is the commercial strip surrounding N. 5th St. and Lehigh Avenue. You may recognize the metal palm tree sculptures that line the thoroughfare. On May 2nd, Night Market Philadelphia held an event at El Centro de Oro. Check the Night Market Philadelphia schedule for the dates of their upcoming events.
We are excited to see this project move forward. It is important that affordable and quality new construction units are added to this area of the city. As development keeps pushing northward from Kensington, we do not want to see long-time Fairhill residents displaced. Although we believe that large-scale market-rate development is several years out for this neighborhood, it is good to see these units being added now before there is a major problem. We are also happy to see this commercial corridor rebuilt. Three mixed-use buildings stood on this lot until they were demolished around 2015. HACE hopes to fill the new commercial space with a cafe, restaurant, or market. We think any of these options would be fantastic for the neighborhood. Now, if we could only get those two gas stations on the northern side of 5th and Lehigh redeveloped into something more pedestrian-friendly, we would be thrilled.
Kyle is a Philadelphia real estate agent on the Agent PHL team at Compass, a homeowner, and a real estate investor in Philadelphia. Kyle uses his extensive Philadelphia real estate market knowledge to help his clients find homes, investment properties, and development opportunities.
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