By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A West Philadelphia nonprofit held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday to mark the completion of the $7.5 million renovation of a historic apartment building. It’s one of the first major investment this area has seen in years.
Originally built in 1912, this is the second facelift for the California Mission-style Von Lour Building in the past 20 years.
“We’re not talking about gentrification here, we’re just talking about transforming a community,” says Marcus Allen, President and CEO of ACHIEVEability, a group that provides affordable housing to low income families. He says the 30-year-old organization used a combination of historic and federal tax credits and banking contributions to fund the multi-million renovation.
“It has 24 units. Two of the units are handicap accessible. As part of the construction, we were able to build an elevator for if we have families with disabilities.”
Allen says the goal is to help restore the area near 60th Street Station to its former glory.
“This community has suffered from the building of the EL; many businesses and affluent people left the community left because of that. I think now we are in a cycle where we can begin to repay the community for the sacrifices they made.”
Allen says ACHIEVEability impacted the Haddington and Cobbs Creek communities by increasing property values by more $300 million over the past three decades. The group owns a number of properties in the area and provides social services to formerly homeless single-parent families. For more info on ACHIEVEability, go to www.achieveability.org.