Affordable-housing developers struggle to stay one step ahead of gentrification in Philadelphia | Inga Saffron
A mere four years ago, the Oxford Mills apartments felt like the edge of the gentrified world. The sprawling 19th-century dye works at Philadelphia’s Front and Oxford Streets was bordered by empty lots, shuttered factories, and a sprinkling of auto mechanics. There was no Honeygrow, no Suraya, no Evil Genius Beer Co., no City Fitness, and definitely no suit-wearing brigades striding down Front Street.
That made the brick buildings perfect for subsidized housing in the view of Greg Hill and Gabe Canuso, two Philadelphia developers with a do-good streak. By cobbling together a variety of federal tax credits, they were able to turn a historic industrial relic into a mixed-used development and offer 90 loft apartments at a serious discount. Today, Oxford Mills is an island of affordability in a sea of $500,000 homes. The neighborhood now goes by the name “Olde Kensington.”
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