Modern Home Builder 2018 - Volume 6, Issue 2 - 107
team to build the project. Lending was still tight in the wake of the
Great Recession, but PCDC eventually secured funding through
EB-5 financing, a program that grants temporary green cards to
foreigners who invest in a project.
With financing in place, PCDC began construction on Eastern
Tower in July 2017 and it is scheduled to open in September 2019.
As of mid-May, crews were pouring the 13th floor of the structure
and designing the early childhood learning center. "It's on time, on
budget," Chin notes.
Chinatown has long been perceived as a low-income and under-developed immigrant community, but Eastern Tower could
make it a destination for tourists and neighbors alike. "I think it
will change the perspective for outsiders of Philadelphia's Chinatown," Chin states.
Although it is a major step forward for the community, Eastern Tower is only the beginning of PCDC's plans. The organization
has developed a 10-year Chinatown Neighborhood Plan that seeks
to transform the neighborhood into a vital residential, and commercial district and protect its standing as a cultural hub for Asian
American Pacific Islander immigrants. "This project is just part of
the future vision of Chinatown," Chin says. )
"It's going to be a beautiful building that will serve as a
multi-purpose room," PCDC Executive Director John Chin says.
"It's going to provide space for all sorts of community activities -
both cultural and physical."
The apartments will be designed for older residents looking to
retire in the city center area and younger professionals who may
work at the two medical universities in the area.
Additionally, the building will bring a number of important services to Chinatown. There are plans for primary healthcare offices
and an early childhood learning center tenant that will offer bilingual instruction in Chinese and English. Focusing on those kinds
of resources fits PCDC's larger mission to not only spark development in Chinatown but also to serve as a social services provider
for its people.
The economic benefits go beyond the retail and services that
will be able within the building. Chin believes Eastern Tower will
draw Chinatown residents from both sides of the Vine Street Expressway, laying the groundwork for more private investment in
the neighborhood. "This large project also serves as an economic
development engine in the sense that the location we're building
this is located on the north side of the Vine highway," Chin adds.
Connecting all those features into one development required finding the right balance between living and public spaces. Finding
funding for such a project was a difficult task. "The challenge is
that the project doesn't fit very nicely into any one financial product," Chin explains.
Work on Eastern Tower began in earnest in 2011 when PCDC
found a partner in JNA Capital Inc. and assembled a development
Photo by Bruce Andersen
Eastern Tower is expected to attract residents and lay the groundwork for more
private investment in the neighborhood.
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