On Friday, September 22, 2023, The Honorable Vincent J. Hughes, Pennsylvania State Senator 7th District, and The Honorable Jamie Gauthier, Philadelphia City Council – 3rd District, joined Mission First Housing Group for the Grand Re-Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of Parkside Neighborhood Preservation in Fairmount Park at 4200 Parkside Avenue.
Mission First completed the historic preservation of 82 affordable housing units in 16 buildings along the 4100 and 4200 Blocks of Parkside Avenue and at 4201 Girard Avenue and 1237-1241 Belmont Avenue, known as Parkside Neighborhood Preservation (Parkside). John Paone, Board Member, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency; Paul Connolly, Managing Director, R4 Capital LLC; Bill Deal, Executive Director, Market Head of Sales & Service, Public & Labor, Keystone & Capitol Markets, Aetna, a CVS Health Company; also joined Mission First’s Chief Executive Officer Thomas A.K. Queenan and Director of Development Sue McPhedran to provide remarks about the project. The event was sponsored by Aetna/CVS Health and R4 Capital LLC.
“The preservation of our properties in the Parkside Historic District was a priority for Mission First to ensure long-term affordability for people who live there and the overall community,” said Queenan. “The need to preserve what is already designated as affordable housing is just as important as adding more housing stock, and Mission First takes pride in ensuring these critical housing assets can continue to house our residents.”
Parkside provides affordable housing to some of Philadelphia’s most vulnerable residents. The property is in the growing housing market of the Parkside neighborhood in West Philadelphia, which continues to see new multifamily development, high occupancy levels and rising rents. Mission First has obtained operating subsidies to support its vulnerable residents – 49 of the 82 units have project-based vouchers through the Philadelphia Housing Authority and 26 residents benefit from tenant-based rental assistance from the City of Philadelphia.
Parkside Neighborhood Preservation was at risk due to its declining physical condition. The property was out of the 15-year compliance period and is composed of historic buildings over 100 years old, which were last renovated in 2001-2003. The redevelopment of these apartments addresses building systems that needed updates such as windows repair/replacement, as-needed HVAC upgrades, building envelope repairs, porch and masonry work, flooring throughout the buildings, new appliances, and as-needed bathroom and kitchen upgrades. Painting was completed in the units and common areas.
“Through this investment to preserve and renovate these beautiful and historic homes in the Parkside Neighborhood, and in an exciting new collaboration with Mission First Housing Group, we are enabling families in Philadelphia to lead healthier lives by providing them with an updated, high quality, and affordable place to live,” said Bill Deal, Market Head of Public Sector & Labor Segment at Aetna, a CVS Health company. “Having access to housing residents can afford puts them in a better position to care for their mental and physical wellbeing and manage chronic conditions. Additionally, with Mission First’s connections to readily available health and wellness services, residents have a better understanding of their overall health and health care needs, which is a critical step to improving overall health outcomes and promoting health equity.”
The project was financed through the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD)’s Housing Trust Fund, Philadelphia Housing Authority’s Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Contract for Project Based Assistance and Federal Home Loan Bank New York funds. R4 Capital is the investor and Citibank provided construction and permanent financing.
“Partnering again with a seasoned developer like Mission First that knows the area and its population means they will provide safe and modernized housing that will meet the needs of those residents. Affordable housing is in such great demand, it’s our shared goal to not only build, but to preserve housing that serves current and future generations. We look forward to continued work with Mission First,” adds Paul Connolly, Managing Director at R4 Capital.
Among nonprofit developers in the City of Philadelphia and State of Pennsylvania, Mission First is a leader in preservation, especially with challenging projects – preserving more than 700 apartments throughout our portfolio with hundreds more in its pipeline. Affordable housing preservation is at the root of Mission First’s mission.
Mission First Housing Group develops and manages affordable, equitable, safe, sustainable homes that support residents and strengthen communities. Mission First currently provides affordable housing and services to more than 5,500 people in nearly 4,000 apartments across the Mid-Atlantic region, serving populations in need, such as veterans, survivors of domestic violence, seniors and the disabled.