By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new affordable housing development in North Philadelphia is the nation’s first LEED-ND “plantinum” development, representing $48 million in federal tax credits and private investment.
Nestled at the corner of 9th and Berks Streets, Paseo Verde includes 120, one- and two-bedroom, affordable rental units and 30,000 square feet of commercial space.
“This was just a parking lot, a vacant parking lot,” says Nilda Ruiz, CEO of Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (the Association of Puerto Ricans on the March, or APM), one of the developers that helped transform the trash-strewn lot into a beautiful modern apartment complex that includes environmentally friendly features such as green roofs, water gardens, solar panels, and the use of recycled materials.
“Not only does it has a lot of green elements, but it also has walkability, and it’s easy to transit,” says Ruiz.
Paseo Verde is a stone’s throw from the Temple University’s SEPTA station and regional rails. Septa general manager Joe Casey says the transit agency invested $800,000 to update the station, which serves 7,000 commuters each day.
“This is one of the first transit-oriented developments in the city,” says Casey. “Improvements include new lighting, signage, landscaping, and a bicycle storage structure with canopy.”
Joann Rivera, 33, is a mother of a teenaged daughter. She recently moved to Philadelphia from Puerto Rico and moved into her new apartment at Paseo Verde two months ago.
“I have access to public transportation and it’s really convenient,” she said today. “I feel really safe here — it’s awesome.”
APM developed the property along with Jonathan Rose Companies. The duo leveraged federal tax credits and private funding, coordinating efforts provided by dozens of partners.
“This is a template of what can be done on vacant land,” said Darrell Clarke, president of Philadelphia City Council.
Apartment rents at Paseo Verde start at just over $1,100 per month. Other amenities include covered parking and a gym on site.