Taxpayers help fund North Philly stores

A decade after it closed, more than a year after it burned, developers say they've lined up subsidized financing to build a dollar store, a discount grocery, fast food and other inner city-focused retail chains at Edison Square, site of the old Edison (once Northeast) High School at 8th and Lehigh.

"The $12.8 million first phhase will consist of a nearly 37,000 sq ft develpoment" including a Save-A-Lot grocer (with fresh produce and meat), Family Dollar, Burger King and Kicks (sneakers) stores," Mosaic Development Partners' Greg Reaves and Orens Brothers Real Estate's Scott Orens said in a joint statement.

Orens and Reaves project 100 construction jobs before the expected opening in 2014, and later 70 retail and support jobs.

Funding includes:
- A $3.9 million "leveraged loan" from the Philadelphia-based Reinvestment Fund;
- A $1.55 million "Business In Our Sites" loan from the state of Pennsylvania;
- Federal New Market Tax Credits backed by Wells Fargo Bank via Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp.

The developers' spokesman, Tom Gailey, had no immediate comment on the terms of the taxpayer-subsidized financing.

In his statement, Orens "recognized the importance of funding from Pennsylvania and Washington" in making his project financially attractive.