By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — City officials were in Hunting Park on Friday to break ground on an $18 million project that would re-purpose an old factory on North 5th Street.

The old Roberto Clemente Middle School Building at 5th and Rising Sun Avenue has been vacant for more than a decade. Rife with asbestos and lead, it’s been a dangerous eyesore and fire trap- and now it’ll be put to good use.

img 8938 City Officials Break Ground On Repurposing Of Old Factory Building

The building as it looks currently. (credit: Cherri Gregg)

“It’ll be 38 units of affordable housing, three bedrooms mostly,” said Reverend Luis Cortes.

Cortes runs Esperanza, a non-profit that meets the needs of North Philadelphia’s Hispanic community. He says the project includes 5000 square feet of commercial space, to bring jobs to this working class neighborhood.

“We are hoping to call it the Latino Quarter. The idea is to have a cultural center here that reflects our cultural values and our architectural values and create an opportunity community,” Cortes said.

img 8936 City Officials Break Ground On Repurposing Of Old Factory Building

A rendering of the new building. (credit: Cherri Gregg)

Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sanchez says the plan is to compliment the project with a streetscape project.

“That will really create a pedestrian-friendly anchor to what is 5th Street North and Hunting Park,” she said.

The project is expected to be complete by summer of next year.

img 8934 City Officials Break Ground On Repurposing Of Old Factory Building

Another rendering of the new building. (credit: Cherri Gregg)

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