Philadelphia, September 9, 2011— The City of Philadelphia announced a total of $4.25 million in grants from HUD through the Brownfields Economic Development Initiative Program. The grant money is intended to stimulate job growth and revitalize unproductive industrial areas known as ‘brownfields.’ In addition to the grant money, an additional $4.75 million will be provided to the City through Section 108 loans. Philadelphia is the only city to receive two grants from HUD. One grant is for the Edison Square Project, and the other grant is for the Bakers Centre Project. Both are neighborhood shopping center developments. The grant money for Philadelphia amounts to one-third of the total grant money that HUD is awarding throughout the country.

“The City of Philadelphia is thrilled to be the only city to receive two grants from HUD through the BEDI program,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “This money will translate into economic development and jobs for Philadelphians. Getting people back to work is one of the most important things we can do in this tough economy. Not only are we removing eyesores in the community, but we are also encouraging the surrounding areas to develop as a result of this investment.”

The City will receive a BEDI grant of $1.25 million and will apply for a Section 108 Loan for $1.75 million for the first phase of the Edison Square Project. The project entails demolishing a high school that has been vacant for more than 9 years, and construction of a retail center. Phase one of the project will include a grocery store, stores selling electronics and general merchandise, and restaurants. The second phase of the project will be an affordable housing development. The project will create 100 permanent full-time jobs in a community where poverty and unemployment are currently more than twice the national rates. The total project cost is approximately $11 million.

“This HUD Brownfield grant will remove a blighted building, provide jobs and, when the project is completed, will provide a much needed retail center and affordable housing,” said Congressman Bob Brady (D-PA-01). “This is a prime example of the partnership between Mayor Nutter and his administration and the Federal government.”

The City will receive a BEDI grant of $3 million and will apply for a Section 108 Loan for $3 million for the Bakers Centre Project. The project will involve new construction of a 219,000 square foot community shopping center anchored by a supermarket, on a 30-acre parcel vacated by Tasty Baking. This development addresses community needs in a “food desert” and will also include benefits such as a preventive-care health clinic and credit union. It is projected that this project will create 650 permanent jobs. Unemployment and poverty levels in the surrounding community are currently more than twice the national rates. The BEDI will leverage $12 million in other funds already committed to the project. The total project cost is approximately $53 million.

“Rescuing brownfields at Bakers Square and elsewhere in Philadelphia is a vital and valuable use of federal resources,” said Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA-02). “This $3 million grant means ‘green’ dividends for the Hunting Park area in terms of an environmentally-friendly site and future job creation. Once again, federal stimulus dollars are at work in Philadelphia.”

“We are delighted that HUD has selected these two important neighborhood retail center projects to receive federal funding through the Brownfields Economic Development Initiative,” said John Grady, President of PIDC. “The BEDI grants will allow the projects to move forward and create significant construction and permanent jobs for Philadelphians, as well as to provide much-needed retail services for the surrounding communities. This is another example of how the City of Philadelphia and PIDC are successfully competing for resources nationally and leveraging these resources with our partners in government and the private sector to make smart investments in our businesses and neighborhoods.”

“Bakers Centre is truly a model for urban redevelopment,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greengberger. “It shows what can happen when public, private, and civic forces align behind an intelligent plan.”

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release
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