Apartments coming to shuttered South Philly school

Screen-Shot-2015-02-11-at-2.34
The former George W. Childs Elementary at 17th and Tasker streets in Point Breeze will be converted into an apartment complex and community space following approval by the Zoning Board of Adjustment last month.

A closed elementary school at 17th and Tasker streets in Point Breeze will be converted into an apartment complex and community space following approval by the Zoning Board of Adjustment last month.

The school, formerly George W. Childs Elementary, was bought last week by Metal Ventures Inc., according to Stephen Pollock, an attorney who represents the developer. The building was closed in 2010, and the elementary school has since moved to 16th and Wharton.

The empty school will now house 73 apartments, 10 of which will be affordable to individuals making up to 80 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), pursuant to a Community Benefits Agreement signed by the developer, some community groups, and a nearby resident. Eighty percent of AMI for the Philadelphia area is defined as $44,150 per year for an individual. At that rate, an “affordable” studio unit — the standard for affordability is spending 30 percent or less of monthly income on housing — could rent for as much as $1,100 per month, including all utilities.   

The project will also include 48 parking spaces for cars, one of which will be reserved for a car-sharing service, and 11 parking spaces for bikes. It will have a green roof and roof decks, as well as pilot houses extending the maximum height of the building to 65 feet.

Under the terms of the Community Benefits Agreement, the developer agreed to make the school’s auditorium available free of charge to local community groups two nights a week. The auditorium has more than 7,000 square feet of space.

Signatories to the Community Benefits Agreement include Newbold Neighbors Association and representatives of Concerned Citizens of Point Breeze.

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, who represents the area, sent the following statement through a spokesman: "Childs is an example of the type of work I’m doing when faced with new developments in the 2nd District. Nobody wants to see neighborhood schools shut their doors. But when the School District decided to move Childs elementary and sell the old location, I made sure that the developer immediately began working with the community. I’m glad that they have been able to work together to create a smart project that works for everyone.”

PlanPhilly.com  is dedicated to covering design, planning and development issues in Philadelphia. The news website is a project of PennPraxis, the clinical arm of the School of Design of the University of Pennsylvania. It is funded by the Wyncote Foundation