Oct 13, 2021 - News

University City may lose affordable housing complex

The exterior of University City Townhomes in University City.

The University City Townhomes in West Philadelphia. Photo: Taylor Allen/Axios

An affordable housing complex in West Philly could soon be no more.

Driving the news: The owner of University City Townhomes has informed the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that the complex intends to sell the site rather than renew its affordable housing contract with the agency, according to City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier's office.

  • Residents have been notified they must leave by July 8, 2022, a release from the District 3 representative's office states.

Now, Gauthier is proposing a demolition moratorium for the property.

  • The city official, who represents the district where the complex is located, put forward a proposal less than two weeks ago that includes a mandate for all of the site's existing units to remain affordable housing, among other conditions.

State of play: The complex, at 3990 Market St., has 70 affordable housing units in the gentrified University City neighborhood.

  • The property's market value is more than $9.5 million, according to the city's website.

Gauthier declined to comment on Tuesday, and Axios wasn't able to reach the complex's owner, IBID Associates, or the federal housing agency.

  • But Gauthier plans to hold a news conference about the potential sale of the complex on Thursday.

Between the lines: It remains to be seen whether Gauthier's proposal will muster enough City Council votes to pass.

  • City leaders have avoided imposing affordable housing mandates — known as inclusive zoning — over the years, despite Philly's suffering from a shortage of low-rent housing options.
  • The City Council has instead chosen to offer voluntary incentives to developers to include low-income housing or pay into the city's Housing Trust Fund.

What's ahead: Gauthier's Thursday press conference will be held outside of University City Townhomes.

  • Her proposal is teed up for a Rules Committee hearing on Oct. 26.

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