Throughout the history of Philadelphia’s Chinatown, there has never been a physical space designated for community gathering, activities, or recreation. Ten years ago when PCDC began our move north of the Chinatown Core, our organization seriously contemplated the concept of a community center at the corner of 10th and Vine Streets.
On Friday, October 6, 2017 the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) joined by State Representative Michael O’Brien, Councilman Squilla, representatives of Governor Tom Wolf and U.S. Senator Casey, and more than two hundred guests celebrated the historic groundbreaking of the Eastern Tower Community Center. The $75 million dollar project, co-developed by the PCDC and JNA Capital, Inc. and represented by a team led by Art Momjian of Duane Morris will be the largest in scope and budget to be built in Chinatown.
The Eastern Tower will be built over the next 26 months by Hunter Roberts Construction Group at 10th and Vine Streets in Chinatown. The project is designed to address the recreation, housing and services needs of a growing community of both residents and Asian immigrants from the Philadelphia region. The 195,000 SF building is programmed to include a 17,000 SF community center with a state-of-the-art basketball court and multi-purpose gym, 30,000 SF of retail/commercial space, and 150 housing units. The project will unite Chinatown across the Vine Street Expressway, which has bisected the community for decades, and drive 10th Street commercial corridor growth and investment into Chinatown North. A lease has already been executed for the Chinatown Learning Center, a bilingual, Keystone STAR 4 preschool program.
PCDC, in partnership with local developer JNA Capital, began development in 2011 with a vision of Chinatown’s own recreation center. A uniquely grassroots-driven capital campaign garnered over $8M in public and philanthropic funds and significant community support, attracted a diverse array of private investors from the Asian community in the Philadelphia area, NJ and NY, a local CDFI, and banks, and created a model for inclusive growth in Center City Philadelphia.
PCDC and JNA Capital assembled a creative capital structure to bring this formidable project into reality. Key players included the Commonwealth Cornerstone Group (CCG); Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group; JNA Capital, Inc.; 5-Stone Green Capital; Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania; Parke Bank; Global City Regional Center, LLC (GCRC); the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; the City of Philadelphia Commerce Department; Asian Bank; and the Beech Capital Venture Corporation.
“This project represents the best of non-profit and for-profit collaboration and a team-oriented solution to complex urban development project with an express community development objective,” said Ahsan Nasratullah, President of JNA Capital and GCRC.
“We look forward to working with our great friends, our great civic leaders in Chinatown to do the next project,” said State Representative Michael O’Brien.