800 Vine Advocacy

800 Vine Senior Breaks Ground!

Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC), Pennrose, and project partners celebrated the groundbreaking of 800 Vine Senior, which will convert an underutilized surface parking lot at 9th and Vine Streets into a 51-unit, 100% affordable senior housing development. Located in Chinatown, the development is expected to open in Summer 2024.

Speakers at the groundbreaking included: Jacob Fisher, Regional Vice President, Pennrose, LLC; John Chin, Executive Director, Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation; Robin Weissmann, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency; Councilmember Mark Squilla, District 1, Philadelphia City Council; Angel B. Rodriquez, Senior Vice President, Land Management, PHDC; and Paralee Knight, Vice President of Philanthropy and Community Impact, Wells Fargo.

Located in a five-story midrise building, the senior housing community will include 51 units with a mix of studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments. All units will be available for seniors at or below 60% of the area median income (AMI), with six units available at or below 20% AMI, 20 units available at or below 50% AMI, and 25 units available at or below 60% AMI. The apartments will be completely adaptable and visitable, with 10% of the units designed for residents with physical disabilities and hearing and vision impairments. In addition, the building will be designed to meet Energy Star Certification and Enterprise Green Communities standards.

“This new residential project returns 9th Street to the city grid as a walkable corridor while embracing the cultural identity of Chinatown,” said John Chin. “We are excited that we will improve the lives for rent burdened seniors.”

“We are proud to be here today alongside project partners to celebrate the exciting first step in bringing new, high-quality affordable housing to Chinatown’s seniors,” said Jacob Fisher, regional vice president at Pennrose. “After years of planning and collaboration, we look forward to replacing a vacant lot with much needed housing, supportive services, and resources to benefit the entire neighborhood.”

Residents will also have access to a host of on-site amenities, including a large community room, outdoor courtyard, common laundry on each floor, and on-site property management. Tailored on-site supportive services will be offered to help improve resident quality of life, including a dedicated supportive services coordinator to plan intergenerational events and programming for residents and the surrounding neighborhood. The brand new community is conveniently located between Chinatown and Old City, placing residents just steps away from Independence Mall, Franklin Square Park, and local transportation.

Previously owned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, the parcel is located in an opportunity zone and is part of the Center City Redevelopment Area. As part of a much larger community and economic master plan to revitalize Chinatown, transforming the long-underutilized site will help activate the neighborhood and provide local seniors with more affordable housing options. According to the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, 42% of seniors living in Philadelphia are below the poverty level.

The financing structure for 800 Vine Senior consists of tax credit equity from Investor, Wells Fargo, generated from 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), RACP funds from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and a subordinate loan and permanent debt from PHFA.

“We are thrilled to be part of a project of this caliber in the Chinatown neighborhood,” said Brandon Weber, Community Lending & Investment Director at Wells Fargo. “At Wells Fargo, collaborating with communities to create positive change is at the core of what we do, and we look forward to seeing how this development will support the senior residents, their families and neighbors.”

Chinatown Land Taken 40 Years Ago – Discussions Reopen to Redress the Wrongs of the Past

800 Vine Block in 1965, before the demolition of properties along 9th Street

Many may not know that the parking lot at the 800 block between Race and Vine street used to be homes for dozens of Chinatown residents and businesses. In the 1980s, however, the properties were demolished and the land was dug up for the construction of the underground Center City Commuter Connection (CCCC), commonly known as the Commuter Tunnel. PCDC’s founder, Cecilia Moy Yep was one of the homeowners who were displaced. After more than 40 years, she still adamantly advocates that the City should return the land to the Chinatown community.

In 2017, the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA), a city entity, awarded the land to a developer named Pennrose. PRA created a process to select a project that would provide “social impact.” The awarded project includes a mixed-income apartment building, a hotel, and an Equal Justice Center (EJC), which would house non-profit legal services under one roof.
PRA’s decision was controversial. Many community leaders and stakeholders were skeptical about whether Pennrose’s project would actually meet the needs of Chinatown. In September 2020, the EJC announced that it would not be built, and PRA is canceling the contract.

On Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, PCDC hosted a public meeting to provide updates on the recent changes at 800 Vine Street. Community members were very active in sharing their thoughts and opinions on what the development should look like now that the parcel was open again. Many spoke out about various uses they wanted to see on this land, including retail space, affordable housing, and open green space. Participants wanted to see that this land not only benefits seniors, but also provides space for intergenerational connection and children with disabilities. Suggestions include a Chinatown museum, an intergenerational playground, and an urban farm. Community members emphasized the importance of having a master plan for the whole parcel as well as a comprehensive planning process. They urged PCDC to collaborate with other organizations and individuals to make sure that the City understands the community needs.

Public officials who attended the meeting also supported a planning process led by the community and for the community. Councilman Mark Squilla recognized that the community was not satisfied with the previous RFP and community engagement process and stated, “as we see these developments happen in the community, we need to make sure that it is a fair and transparent process.” State Representative Mary Isaacson told the community members that a planning process would be set up to make sure their voices would be heard. She emphasized that we need to “have everything necessary to move the Chinatown community forward and not just have the development for the sake of development.”  

You can watch the meeting recording here, passcode: Pu&DP^7N

The 800 Vine Street parcel is an opportunity to strengthen and grow our community. It is the last remaining parcel in Chinatown that can provide much-needed neighborhood amenities such as affordable housing and open space. As PCDC’s Board Chair, Margaret Chin stated, this parcel “should stay and be developed in our community, by our community, and for our community.” 

四十年前華埠的土地被奪走 – 如今社區重新討論糾正歷史錯誤



在2017年,費城再開發局將這塊地給了開發商Pennrose。費城再開發局通過一系列流程選擇了一個提供社會影響力的項目。被選中的項目包括了一棟混合收入的公寓大樓、一個酒店和一個Equal Justice Center (EJC, 公平正義中心)。這個中心將集合許多提供法律服務的非營利組織。費城再開發局的決定是充滿爭議的。許多社區領袖和利益相關方質疑Pennrose的項目是否會滿足華埠的需要。2020年9月,公平正義中心宣佈將不會建造這個大樓,並且費城再開發局將會取消這個合約。 


參會的政府官員們也支持了建立一個社區主導和為社區服務的規劃過程。市議員Mark Squilla承認了社區對於之前的征詢方案過程和社區參與過程並不滿意,並說道 “在我們見證這些開發在社區發生的同時,我們需要保證它是一個公平和透明的過程”。宾州众议员Mary Isaacson向社區居民保證会有一個聽取他們意見的規劃過程。她強調我們需要“保證華埠社區向前進步,而不是僅僅是為了開發而開發”。 

你可以点击这里观看该社区会议的录像, 密码: Pu&DP^7N