PHA Using Stimulus Dollars To Renovate Homes & Create Jobs


PHILADELPHIA, PA – April 24, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — The complete renovation and energy upgrading of 300 houses and apartments will be the first of several projects the Philadelphia Housing Authority will complete with the $90 million in stimulus funds approved this year by Congress and signed by the president. 

Work will begin immediately on the properties, located on scattered blocks throughout the city. These units would sit vacant if not for the influx of these new federal dollars. Cost of the renovations will average about $100,000 per house or apartment and will include installation of highly energy efficient heaters and water heaters, windows, doors and insulation, Energy Star appliances and new roofs.

“This project will have two immediate benefits, the most obvious being 300 homes for low-income families who will pay rents based on their income. The other benefit is that the improvements to these homes will upgrade the quality and property values of entire blocks,” said PHA Executive Director Carl Greene.

PHA has hired Hunter Roberts Construction Company to manage the 24-month project, and is working closely with the city’s building trade unions to ensure a diverse workforce.

Renovation of the 300 scattered properties is the largest of the stimulus-backed projects, but there will be at least five others.

The Plymouth Hall senior building at 22nd and Tioga Streets, vacant since being destroyed by fire in 2004, will be rebuilt. The building had featured 72 units, but will be converted to 53 modern apartments. Upgrades include high efficiency water heaters, windows and insulation, solar panels for heat, a “green” roof to prevent excess water run-off, and Energy Star appliances. Project completion time is 24 months.

PHA will build 25 two-story quad-plexes for disabled citizens on vacant land the agency owns at various locations. Each structure will include four handicap-accessible apartments, including vertical lifts to the second floor units. Features include high-reflective roofing, solar hot water and electric, highly efficient water heaters, windows and insulation as well as Energy Star appliances. Completion will take 36 months.

PHA will totally rehab or build new 23 homes on Markoe Street in West Philadelphia. Completion of this block will mark the final area of the sprawling Lucien E. Blackwell Homes community. These homes will be built to the highest energy standards, in some cases using the facades of the existing homes, and include solar panels for hot water and Energy Star appliances.

PHA will upgrade the sprinkler standpipes in 18 high-rise buildings from the current dry system to wet to comply with current safety codes. This work will take 36 months to complete.

PHA will upgrade energy systems at 31 of its buildings. The work includes electrical, heating, plumbing, and mechanical systems as well as elevators. The result will be improved efficiency with the ability to monitor and control all the buildings’ systems remotely. Completion of this work will require 36 months.

PHA plans to solicit bids for all these projects within 120 days.

“PHA is using the stimulus funding exactly as intended. We are putting people to work making the kinds of improvements to our inventory that will create high quality, energy efficient housing for the long term. To PHA, the stimulus is more than just a payment; it’s an opportunity to accelerate the changes already underway in our program to dramatically decrease energy consumption,” Greene said.

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