Pennrose Properties and dmhFund Team for First Philadelphia LGBT-Friendly Seniors Community

Pennrose Properties and The Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Fund have begun construction on William Way, the first urban LGBT-friendly affordable senior housing development, in Philadelphia’s “Gayborhood” section.

Philadelphia—Pennrose Properties and The Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Fund have begun construction on William Way, the first urban LGBT-friendly affordable senior housing development, in Philadelphia’s “Gayborhood” section.

“The project was the inspiration of our development partner, Mark Segal, president of the dmhFund,” Jacob Fisher, Pennrose’ development officer, tells MHN. “Mark has been a long-time advocate for the LGBT community and creating an affordable LGBT-friendly housing option for seniors in the community is a vision that he has been working on for many years.”

Located at 249 South 13th St., the William Way is a $19.5 million development project funded through a Philadelphia HOME Loan, the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity and a construction loan provided by Wells Fargo.

“The building we’ll develop is located in the heart of Philadelphia’s historic LGBT neighborhood, located one block from Broad Street’s Avenue of the Arts,” Fisher says. “Developing a property here will give seniors of limited means the opportunity to stay in their neighborhood connected to their community with the best of what the City of Philadelphia has to offer right outside the door.”

There is easy access to arts and cultural activities, restaurants, shopping, public transportation, health care, community centers and religious institutions. Because the surrounding neighborhood has over time become upscale, it’s been more difficult for seniors who live on a fixed income to remain in the area.

“Our priority as an organization is to build high quality housing that provides options for all persons, regardless of means to stay connected to their community,” Richard K. Barnhart, Pennrose’s chairman & CEO, says. “We are proud to work on a development that will have a profound impact in this neighborhood and on the city as a whole.”

The six-story residence will consist of 56 one-bedroom units equipped with a living area, kitchen, dishwasher and central air conditioning.

“The building will meet Energy Star 3.0 standards, and will have a solar thermal central hot water system,” Fisher says. “The building will have a community room and private courtyard for all residents, common laundry facility, and on-site management. There will also be 1,900 square feet of retail space on the first floor.”

Residents will also have the opportunity to join as a community and take part in various activities, such as gardening in the 5,000 square-foot enclosed courtyard.

Pennrose and dmhFund are working alongside architect Wallace Roberts & Todd and general contractor Domus Inc. to complete the project.

“Pennrose and dmhFund partnered to carry out this development about two years ago,” Fisher says. “It is the product of a lot of hard work and broad network of support from the community as well as local and state political leadership.”