by PIDCphila
June 18, 2015

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ucd-parklet-family-680uwPIDC recently closed on loans to three development projects in the Fishtown, Graduate Hospital, and Spruce Hill neighborhoods.Representing a total investment of $1.9 million  from PIDC, these three development projects are great examples of how PIDC works to achieve its mission of community investment.

In Fishtown, Jesse Munoz, the developer behind York Street Square, LLC purchased a five-story, 36,570 square foot building back in 2012. Munoz worked with the City’s Commerce Department and the local elected officials to gain support for the project, which will transform the building into residential units with first floor retail and services. York Street Square is expected to result in the creation of 15 new jobs and the retention of six existing jobs.

The first phase of improvements is completed and the ground floor is fully leased. Munoz has already secured a tenant, Asociacion de Puertorriquenos en Marcha (APM), which provides a variety of social services to families in need. In addition, the retail space is filling up, assuring that this property will generate jobs as well as opportunities in this growing area of Philadelphia. PIDC financing will be used to refinance and complete the second phase of the project to fit-out the space and install an elevator.

York Street Square construction underway. Photo credit: Michael Bixler, Hidden City
York Street Square construction underway. Photo credit: Michael Bixler, Hidden City

“York Street Square is an investment that will create jobs, commerce, investments and pride to a community that has experienced hardships for many years.  My role is to help give life back to a property that was built in 1869 for the very purpose of expanding jobs in the textile business. The partnership with PIDC has confirmed their commitment to assist developers in creating jobs and economic infrastructure in these struggling communities. This vision is now possible with PIDC,” said Munoz.

In the Graduate Hospital neighborhood, the Bloc23 project located at 2303 Bainbridge Street is the product of developers Stephen and Robert Rodriguez. The father and son team are constructing a four story 39,000 square-foot mixed-use building with street level retail space and 24 apartments. Targeted towards the growing population in Philadelphia of young professionals and empty-nesters, there will also be a common rooftop green space and parking. The project is expected to result in the creation of 21 jobs from the commercial units.  They have hired Philadelphia based Campbell Thomas & Co. as the architect and Paul McDonald, McDonald Building Company, LLC as the construction company.

Bloc23 would not have been possible without the partnership with PIDC and DNB Bank.  Modern commercial lending, particularly when a major retail component is in play, has an extremely high barrier to entry with developers being required to put up as much as 35% cash into project cost. Public-private partnerships allow for mid-sized and local developers to create great projects with vibrant and rapidly growing commercial corridors of the city such as South Street West. Bloc23 will showcase how transformative a building can be when, from its inception, it’s envisioned as an extension of the community by making the pedestrian experience central to the design,” said Rodriguez.

2303 Bainbridge Rendering

Tom Lussenhop is a longtime resident of the Spruce Hill neighborhood in Philadelphia and views the 4301 Baltimore Avenue project as a rare opportunity to renovate a key property along an emerging commercial strip. The property is well served by public transit and sits directly across the street from both Clark Park and the Green Line Café.

Due to the limited supply of good quality retail spaces in this area, the renovation and leasing of this property will signal a marked change in the retail market. Lussenhop has recruited and secured the highly successful local restaurant operators of the Memphis Taproom, Strangelove’s and the nearby Local 44 to operate a full service restaurant and tavern at the site. The development will include a complete a full gut-renovation of the building and will double the retail space by converting the second floor apartments to restaurant space.

4301 Baltimore Avenue Rendering

“PIDC has been a terrific partner to U3 Ventures in helping us bridge the financing gap that often exists in neighborhoods that are just beginning to attract new investment. Because of tighter lending standards, banks look to developers in these neighborhoods to shoulder equity contributions that are disproportionate relative to more established real estate markets. This project will bring 15 new jobs to the neighborhood and provide sorely needed new retail choices. It would simply not have happened if PIDC and its partnership with Vist Bank were not there to help plug the gap. PIDC lends capital prudently and with serious underwriting rigor…but it also keeps in mind neighborhood development goals and goes the extra mile to make sure things get done”, said Lussenhop.

PIDC is committed to providing capital to these types of neighborhood development projects that create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods, and deliver important goods and services.  Representing just a small portion of PIDC’s work, these three projects exemplify the kinds of investments in communities that can have a transformational impact.  The project developers have shown perseverance in the midst of a challenging economic environment. Financing from PIDC has proved to be the key to moving these projects forward.  PIDC supports these development projects to continue to drive growth to every corner of Philadelphia.

For more information on how PIDC can assist with your neighborhood development project visit



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