Apr 18, 2023 - Real Estate

Game-changing development in Mantua

A rendering of Village Square on Haverford.

A rendering of Village Square on Haverford. Courtesy: Lomax Real Estate Partners and WRT Design

A large-scale development in West Philly will transform two blocks into a hub of affordable housing, business and shopping.

Driving the news: Village Square on Haverford will bring a much-needed grocery store, medical center and income-limited housing options to the Mantua neighborhood.

  • The first phase of the development, led by Lomax Real Estate Partners, is expected to begin in the coming weeks.

Why it matters: Development from the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University continues to encroach on Mantua, bringing gentrification and rising property values, which threatens to displace long-time residents.

The big picture: An estimated 4 in 10 Philly households are cost-burdened, spending at least 30% of their income on housing.

Zoom in: Mantua is a historically Black and low-income neighborhood that has suffered decades of disinvestment.

Details: The $60-million project runs from Wallace Street to Haverford Avenue between 36th and 37th streets and includes:

  • A 13,000-square foot grocery store.
  • A medical center run by Greater Philadelphia Health Action, offering adult and pediatric medicine, OBGYN, behavioral health and dentistry.
  • 72 market-rate apartments.
  • 40 workforce housing rentals, set aside for middle-income residents.
  • 32 affordable housing apartments for tenants earning less than 60% of the area median income.
  • 16 townhomes and two triplexes available for purchase, all with deed restrictions to keep them affordable and sold below market rates.
A rendering of Village Square on Haverford
A rendering of housing options looking west on Mount Vernon Street. Courtesy of Lomax Real Estate Partners and WRT Design

🎙️ 1 cool thing: WURD radio, Pennsylvania’s only Black-owned talk-radio broadcaster, will move its offices to the development from its current Fishtown location.

Of note: WURD was founded by the late Walter P. Lomax Jr., a prominent Philly physician and businessman who died in 2013.

  • His daughter, Sara Lomax-Reese, is the station’s CEO, and his sons run Lomax Real Estate Partners, the project's developer.

Between the lines: The property is currently city-owned but the developer is expected to purchase it outright.

What they’re saying: “The opportunity to own something in this community as it’s changing is a game-changer for folks who have historically been shut out of these kinds of opportunities,” developer Charles Lomax tells Axios.

What’s next: Groundbreaking on the affordable apartments and the grocery store are both expected this year.

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