Marlton, NJ – October 17, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — The Ukrainian Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, along with its development partner, The Michaels Organization, today hosted a grand reopening and dedication ceremony of the newly revitalized Ascension Manor, a landmark affordable housing community in North Philadelphia that the Archdiocese has owned for the past four decades, which has undergone a complete modernization.
The $11 million dollar renovation effort initiated by the Archdiocese and the board of directors of Ascension Manor enabled substantial capital improvements to the buildings and its major systems as well as renovations to individual units, while ensuring the community will remain as affordable housing for seniors and those with disabilities long into the future.
The Most Reverend Stefan Soroka, Archbishop of Philadelphia for Ukrainians Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in the U.S., and President of the Ascension Manor Board, led the community celebration, which included a ribbon-cutting, a formal blessing of the Towers and a picnic for residents, their families, and the neighborhood.
“We’ve added more common open space, furnished in such a manner that it would encourage residents to gather and socialize with one another,” said Archbishop Soroka, adding that one of his primary objectives was to revitalize the communal aspects of the Ascension Towers.
“The new computer lab, craft and exercise rooms, and a meditation room all are aimed at residents enjoying and sharing activities with one another,” the Archbishop said. “We are excited about the life-giving atmosphere that has been created for the residents.”
The Archdiocese first built Ascension Manor Tower in 1967 so that elderly residents of this traditional Ukrainian neighborhood in North Philadelphia could stay near family, friends, and their church. A second tower was added in 1977. The two high-rises now serve almost 300 seniors and individuals with disabilities from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
Working with The Michaels Organization’s Continental Mortgage Corp., the Archdiocese was able to refinance two previous loans from The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with a new loan insured under HUD’s 221(d)(4) Substantial Rehabilitation program. The refinance generated enough funding for the Archdiocese to make significant capital improvements to the building systems, and to transform the community rooms, common areas, and residential units. The renovation began in July 2010.
“Our seniors and people with disabilities deserve affordable housing in a community where they have easy access to all the services they need including transportation, shopping, and health care,” said HUD Regional Administrator Jane C. W. Vincent. “HUD invested in the renovations so that elderly residents and individuals with disabilities can continue to thrive in this community with updated more efficient residential units.”
“We are so proud to be partners with the Archdiocese on the revitalization of this property, which is such an important landmark in North Philadelphia,” said James Miller, senior vice president of Continental Mortgage Corp., Miller credited the vision of the Board as well as the support of HUD for making the modernization possible. “At a time when the need for affordable housing is great, but finding affordable housing is so difficult, preserving the affordability of Ascension Manor while ensuring that the improvements allow the residents to live in a modern comfortable environment is wonderful for the city,” Miller said.
Continental Mortgage Corp. is part of The Michaels Organization, a family of companies dedicated to excellence in affordable housing. Its sister company, Interstate Realty Management, has provided property and asset management services to Ascension Manor for years. After arranging for the refinance, Continental Mortgage Group acted as the developer for the renovation.
About Ascension Manor
Ascension Manor is a non-profit senior citizen apartment project of the Ukrainian Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Ascension Manor has two apartment buildings that are located one block away from the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
About The Michaels Organization: Continental Mortgage Corp., Michaels Development Company and Interstate Realty Management are part of The Michaels Organization, a family of companies dedicated to excellence in affordable, mixed-income, student, and military housing. Michaels Development is the number one private-sector affordable housing owner in the country and in 2010 was named The Multifamily Development Firm of the Year by the National Association of Home Builders. Interstate Realty Management is an award-winning property and asset management company known for its industry-leading supportive services programs.