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High-Density Old City Housing Project To Include Low-Income Units

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two years after Philadelphia’s zoning code was revamped, one new provision is finally bearing fruit.

The new zoning code offers developers incentives (such as allowing higher population density) to provide features deemed to be in the public interest.

“They can do public art, public space, transit improvement,” notes Philadelphia Planning Commission deputy director Eleanor Sharpe. “They can do LEED [environmental certification], they can do green building.”

Sharpe says creating mixed-income housing by providing affordable units is one of the options, and a new apartment complex at 2nd and Race Streets, in the shadow of the Ben Franklin Bridge, will be the first development to take advantage of it.

“We’re very excited that somebody’s willing to take it on and see how it works,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

And Sharpe hopes others will follow suit.  She says the code specifies that the affordable units must be identical to market-priced units in every way, so there won’t be the kind of controversy that arose in New York City when tenants in affordable units were given separate entrances and denied access to amenities.

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