Mission First Housing Group


A Whole New World for Mission First: New Market West

by Mission First Housing

Mission First Housing Group is taking on a new challenge. Along with partners ACHIEVEability and Horizon House, Mission First will develop a four story, 135,700 square foot hub for retail and community services on a 1.5 acre vacant site near the 60th and Market Street El stop in West Philadelphia–New Market West. This is Mission First’s largest project in Philadelphia and its first commercial development.

At New Market West, Mission First has a rare opportunity to create a community center rich with services and community-focused retail at a key transit hub. New Market West will bring high quality early childhood education; workforce development, educational and emergency support services; behavioral health services; and community-serving retail. The project’s second phase will include developing 41 affordable apartments on site, expanding the community’s housing opportunities for individuals and families.

New Market West is a joint venture between Mission First Housing Group and Horizon House, two organizations with a long history of creatively using their expertise in affordable housing and human service delivery to make a difference to people in need across Philadelphia. Now, with the strength of community-based partner ACHIEVEability, the organizations have an opportunity to bring this work to the Haddington and Cobbs Creek neighborhoods.

Founded almost 30 years ago, Mission First has developed nearly 3,100 affordable apartments and currently provides homes to more than 4,000 residents. Mission First will apply their extensive development expertise to New Market West. Horizon House, a human services organization that provides community-based supports to individuals with behavioral health challenges, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and those experiencing homelessness, has been serving the Philadelphia community for 65 years. Horizon House serves 5,000 people annually, almost half of whom live in the City of Philadelphia. The organization has worked with Mission First for nearly 30 years and will make New Market West its new headquarters, bringing 250+ employees who will benefit area businesses, as well as provide local residents with expanded access to its services. Mission First’s affiliate ACHIEVEability, an organization that has been in the Haddington and Cobbs Creek community for 36 years, provides a continuum of anti-poverty services to more than 2,000 individuals each year and will also make the building their new headquarters, extending the organization’s reach and impact. Additionally, New Market West will feature a center run by Montgomery Early Learning Centers (MELC), a NAEYC accredited early childhood education provider. MELC will provide high quality early childhood education to 130 infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Additionally, there will be ground floor retail space for community-serving businesses.

At New Market West, Mission First, Horizon House and ACHIEVEability have a rare opportunity to create a community center rich with services and community-focused retail at a key transit hub. New Market West will reverse disinvestment along the Market Street corridor, strengthening its weakest link, the critical stretch between the 52nd Street commercial corridor and 63rd Street. The currently vacant site is an ideal location for development that both serves the neighborhood and drives community change.

“New Market West is a unique project for Mission First and for the West Philadelphia community,” said Alfredo de la Peña, Chief Executive Officer of Mission First Housing Group. “The project will bring deeply needed services and housing to this area, and will build on the efforts of our partners, ACHIEVEability and Horizon House, to address the social and economic challenges faced by many residents of this West Philadelphia community.”

As part of the funding for this project, New Market West was awarded a $5 million grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP)–a program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects. This grant was the largest award announced in this funding round. Additional funding is provided by the City of Philadelphia, PIDC, Cinnaire, Commonwealth Cornerstone Group, LISC Philadelphia, PNC Bank and TD Bank.

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