Council adopted Resolution 120449 May 17, to allow the Redevelopment Authority to execute the redevelopment contract for the facility, planned for 249-257 S. 13th St.
The project is being spearheaded by the Dr. Magnus Hirschfield Fund with developer Pennrose Properties.
The RDA board earlier this month voted unanimously to sell the land, initiating the Council measure.
Councilman Mark Squilla (D-1st Dist.) introduced the bill during last Thursday’s session, and the rules were suspended so the legislation could be voted on immediately without debate.
The site is currently an RDA facility for equipment and vehicle repair next to the Parker Spruce Hotel and, once construction is completed, is projected to house a six-story facility with 56 affordable units for seniors.
“This is a great opportunity to have senior housing, and the neighborhood needs it,” Squilla told PGN this week. “The tax issues going on throughout the city make it difficult for people to stay in their homes forever. So this gives people, especially those in the Gayborhood, this new option where they can be with people their own age and not have to worry about affording their own property and the things that come with it, like a leaky roof or plumbing issues.”
Squilla said the unanimous and swift backing by Council sends a good message about the city’s support for its LGBT community.
“Philadelphia is open to all people, regardless of race, creed, religion or sexual choice,” Squilla said. “All people are free to go about their business here, and Council stood up and showed that on Thursday.”
Squilla noted that DMH Fund president and PGN publisher Mark Segal should be commended for “the work he’s done on this, because I really think this is a dream come true for him to have this opportunity to help the LGBT community, especially the aging community, because this is a group that people often don’t think about.”
The project also this week came before the zoning committee of the Washington Square West Civic Association.
The committee on Tuesday night reviewed the handful of variances that the project will need approval for by the city’s Zoning Board and took public comment, which trended toward the positive.
The committee will make its recommendation to the full civic association board next month on whether the panel should issue a letter to the Zoning Board in support of the granting of the variances.
Last Friday, the prospectus for the $11-million-valued state tax credits was issued, and thus far five national banks are bidding for the credits. The bidder will be selected by the end of next week.
The facility was originally slated to be attached to the William Way LGBT Community Center and take on its moniker; however, since the residences will now be constructed elsewhere, backers are considering a new name to avoid confusion.
Jen Colletta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.