City to buy up dozens of North Philly properties for new police district offices

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Artist's rendering of the Philadelphia Police Department's new 22nd District offices planned for an area around 21st and Diamond Streets.

Philadelphia officials plan to acquire dozens of properties around 21st and Diamond Streets in North Philadelphia for what neighborhood leaders say will be the future site of new offices for the Police Department’s 22nd District.

The properties being consolidated for the project span a large swath of the blocks south of Diamond Street between 22nd and Lambert Streets, as well as a section of the block north of Diamond between 21st and Lambert Streets, according to a resolution passed by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, which is handling the acquisitions.

Parcels to be Acquired for Police District Plan

Philadelphia officials plan to acquire dozens of properties centered around 21st and Diamond Streets in North Philadelphia for what neighborhood leaders say will be the future site of new offices for the Philadelphia Police Department’s 22nd District.
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SOURCE: Philadelphia Police Dept.
Staff Graphic

The project site encompasses about 50 properties, roughly half of them privately owned, PRA spokeswoman Jamila Davis said in an email in February when the agency put out a request for bids from title companies interested in helping to research the properties’ ownership and to estimate their values. All of the privately owned parcels are unoccupied, she said.

Mayor Jim Kenney’s budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 allocates $21.2 million for police district projects, including work on the 22nd District offices.

Darnell M. Deans Sr., head of the St. Elizabeth’s Registered Community Organization, which is active in the project area, said his group “wholeheartedly” supports the move to the site.

Judith Robinson, chairwoman of the 32nd Democratic Ward RCO, another community group, said the 22nd District office’s current building at 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue is known to be in disrepair, so it makes sense that the city would want to move the district’s officers to a new building.

“We definitely need a new police station,” she said. “We want the best for our officers.”

The 2.2-acre site being developed for the new building is nearly three times as large as the current district office’s footprint. It was not yet known whether the area would be used for purposes other than the district office. The future of the current site also was unknown.

Davis and city spokesman Mike Dunn said they had no further details about the project. A Police Department spokeswoman also said she had no details about the move, and a phone call to Police Capt. Kpana Massaquoi of the 22nd District went unanswered.

Multiple private owners in the affected area contacted by the Inquirer and Daily News were not aware of plans to acquire their properties.

The district office plan is the latest major development proposed or underway in the area of North Philadelphia, west of Broad Street.

Less than a mile to the southwest, the Philadelphia Housing Authority is in the midst of a $675 million plan to redevelop the Sharswood neighborhood and Blumberg housing project. And about half a mile to the east, not far from the current 22nd District offices, Temple University is pushing forward with a plan for a new football stadium complex.

Staff writer Claudia Vargas contributed to this report.

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