In a historic transaction that will create an intergenerational community of seniors and college students, NewCourtland Senior Services today completed the purchase of the former Liddonfield public housing development in Northeast Philadelphia from the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) for $5.5 million. Plans for the 32-acre site, which has sat idle for seven years, include new senior housing, a LIFE Center and sports fields for neighboring Holy Family University as well as space to expand in the future.
“This major purchase and our plans for Northeast Philadelphia represent NewCourtland’s vision for not only a unique, transformative, community, but our commitment to further expansion beyond today’s announcement,” said NewCourtland President & CEO Gail Kass. “We are addressing two critical needs at this site – safe, affordable housing for the city’s rapidly growing senior population and increased healthcare services through our LIFE Program. We thank PHA for working with us toward this day and for its ongoing support of Philadelphia’s seniors.”
PHA has committed to provide operational funding through its Housing Choice Voucher Program for 20 years for up to 300 apartments. That funding would equal more than $3 million per year and more than $60 million for the length of the commitment.
“NewCourtland’s plan for the housing and services on this site are very much in keeping with PHA’s mission of creating neighborhoods of choice and helping seniors remain in their homes with easy access to the care they need,” said PHA President & CEO Kelvin A. Jeremiah. “Theirs was the best proposal for putting the sprawling site back into use and we are pleased to fund the apartments for years to come. I commend NewCourtland for also including sports fields for students at Holy Family University as part of this community.”
PHA had issued a Request for Proposals two years ago to have private developers build on the site.
The housing and the 15,000 square-foot LIFE Center will occupy 1/3 of the property. On another 1/3, NewCourtland plans to build fields for softball, lacrosse, soccer, and track. The remaining 1/3 of the site will be reserved for use at a later time, with input from the Upper Holmesburg community.
City Councilman Bobby Henon, who represents the area and has stayed intensely involved in helping guide the deal to fruition, strongly supported the transaction.
“The end use is exactly what the community has wanted and championed for years. To both NewCourtland and PHA’s credit, they got it exactly right with this agreement,” Henon said.
The Councilman also noted that he lives just down the street from the site. He said that there is a great need for the kind of senior housing that NewCourtland provides, especially with many elders living in the neighborhood.
PHA acquired Liddonfield, which had been a military barracks, in December 1953. Public housing residents began moving there in July 1955. The site eventually served both families and seniors, with senior housing developed on the site in 1968. A total of 464 units occupied the location along with community, management, and maintenance facilities. All the buildings were completely demolished in 2010.
NewCourtland believes that more affordable senior housing will mean healthier seniors. Providing safe, affordable residences are proven to decrease unnecessary and costly nursing home stays, while increasing independence and happiness.
A special event is planned for June at which NewCourtland will reveal the name of the new complex, unveil renderings and announce additional plans for developing more senior housing in Philadelphia.