U3 Ventures Redevelops Historic Building

by Lashay Smith
February 24, 2021

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Real estate development firm, U3 Ventures, is a West Philadelphia-based company that focuses on redevelopment of ignored or unappreciated locations that nonetheless possess high potential for private and community value creation.

In 2019, PIDC helped U3 Ventures refinance the acquisition and renovation of a soon-to-be vacant 3-story, 20,000 sq. ft. historic building at 40th and Ludlow Streets in West Philadelphia, directly located adjacent to the Science Center in the heart of uCity Square, Drexel University, and University of Pennsylvania. The building, designed and built in 1874 by legendary Philadelphia architect Frank Furness, has three floors for office/retail space and a fully finished basement for attendant uses. 

U3 Ventures placed the building on the Philadelphia Historical Commission’s registry and gained federal National Park Service recognition as a contributing building to the West Philadelphia Street Car Suburb Historic District. U3 Ventures was able to advance the project with the help of PIDC’s Neighborhood Development Loan, Impact Development Fund Loan, and RACP Bridge Loan in 2019.

Unfortunately, new protocols for the Philadelphia construction market during the start of the pandemic last year placed limits on the number of workers at the site, causing delays and increased costs for the project. To offset the mounting costs from delays in construction, PIDC increased its subordinate financing of U3 Ventures’ Neighborhood Development Loan to help the company continue tenant improvements and related finish work. Tom Lussenhop, president of U3 Ventures noted that “Without PIDC’s steady and highly responsive support, we would not have been able to save the building, thus helping to accelerate the restoration of West Philadelphia’s proud, historic building inventory.  PIDC is an invaluable partner for the development of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods.”

The building’s first tenant occupied their space in November 2020 and by February 2021, 70% of the building will be occupied. This project will have a mix of medical and social service as well as local retail businesses. The renovated building will expand its tenants’ capacity to serve their missions all the while based in a diverse mixed-income, transit-based community. The development is expected to retain 12 full-time jobs and create 20 new full-time jobs.

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