Eastern Tower Community Center Ready for Groundbreaking

July 27, 2017 – PHILADELPHIA, PA. On July 25, 2017, the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) closed on its $75 million financing to develop the Eastern Tower Community Center, a 20-story, 200,000 SF mixed-use residential, commercial/retail, and community center. The project, being developed by the
Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) and JNA Capital, Inc. as co-developers, will be the largest project in scope and budget to be built in Chinatown and the largest developed by a community-based nonprofit in Philadelphia.

The Eastern Tower will be built over the next 26 months by Hunter Roberts Construction Group on 10th and Vine Street in Chinatown and it 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 modern housing units with spectacular City and Delaware river skyline views.  Rising at 10th and Vine, the project will bookend the 10th Street commercial corridor that begins with the China Friendship Gate at 10th and Arch.

PCDC, in partnership with local developer JNA Capital, began development in 2011 with a long-held vision for a place for Chinatown’s own recreation center and a home court for the Chinatown sports leadership program, the Philadelphia Suns. A uniquely grassroots-driven capital campaign garnered over $8 MM 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.

Margaret Chin, PCDC Board Chair, says, “This is truly a community project and signals the bright future of Philadelphia Chinatown. It felt so meaningful that the community came together to support Eastern Tower. At the very end, they filled the last funding gap.”

Cecilia Moy Yep, PCDC founder and board member, says, “We started this process in the 1990s because we wanted a place for our kids to play. Decades later, we’re overjoyed to reach this milestone of a long-awaited dream.”

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. Chinatown is a historically low-income, immigrant community. As the Asian population has increased rapidly in the city, Chinatown has also evolved as a hub for many new immigrants who consider the community as a cultural touchstone and a center of retail, services and anchor institutions. Leases have already been executed for two commercial tenants: Chinatown Learning Center, a bilingual,  Keystone 4-STAR preschool and pre-kindergarten program which will expand in the new space, and a new restaurant concept from a small business owner.

PCDC and JNA Capital assembled a creative capital structure that includes New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC), private equity, senior debt, EB5 investment, philanthropic/government support and community donations.