Shopping center raises hopes for struggling area

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An artist's rendering shows the Plaza Allegheny shopping center in completed form near Third Street and Allegheny Avenue. The surrounding Fairhill neighborhood badly needs the 140 jobs it is projected to generate.

Crews are scheduled to break ground Tuesday on an 85,000-square-foot supermarket-anchored shopping center near Third Street and Allegheny Avenue that city officials said would be a new economic engine for the surrounding Fairhill neighborhood.

The $16 million project will create 140 permanent jobs in the community, according to a release from Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. (PIDC), which is helping to fund construction.

Fairhill can expect a "major economic boost" from the Plaza Allegheny project, Mayor Kenney said in a release. During last year's election campaign, he promised to champion development in underserved neighborhoods.

"Plaza Allegheny will not only help revitalize the community, it will also bring much needed job growth to an area that has one of the highest unemployment rates in Philadelphia," Kenney said.

When Plaza Allegheny opens in the fall, its tenants will include a Save-a-Lot supermarket, an auto-repair shop, medical and dental offices, and a fitness center.

The shopping center will occupy more than nine acres formerly consisting of junkyards, an abandoned Conrail spur, and city-owned vacant lots, according to the mayor's office.

Developers David Groverman and HACE Community Development Corp. received financial aid for the project from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and PIDC, which also contributed property, PIDC spokeswoman Diana Torralvo said.

She did not know how much aid was received.

"Projects like Plaza Allegheny provide critical goods, services, and job opportunities to neighborhood residents," PIDC president John Grady said. "PIDC is proud to have been able to bring together our financing and real estate resources . . . to support the transformation of a vacant and blighted site into a productive asset."

jadelman@phillynews.com

215-854-2615@jacobadelman

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