Vitus Group Buys, Maintains Affordable Housing in Philadelphia
Vitus has acquired 590 senior housing units in Philadelphia, which it plans to renovate and preserve as affordable for another 30 years.
By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor
Philadelphia–Vitus Group, a national developer and owner of affordable housing, has acquired two affordable senior apartment properties with 590 high-quality units.
The company is now planning to renovate the communities known as Four Freedoms House of Philadelphia and Philip Murray House, and maintain the affordability of the units for 30 years.
“At Vitus, we seek out communities where the availability of quality affordable housing is at risk, such as Philadelphia. We work hard not just to acquire and preserve these housing units, but also to improve the lives of residents,” said Stephen Whyte, managing director for Vitus Group. “We are excited to partner with the long-time nonprofit ownership to make significant physical improvements and bring active design amenities to the properties.”
The two high-rise buildings are located in the Germantown and Fern Rock neighborhoods. Both properties are within a mile of a commercial and retail district and are served by public transportation. Five hundred units are set aside for households with annual incomes at or below 30 percent of the area median income (AMI), while the remainder is set aside for those households with incomes at 60 percent or below AMI.
The renovation will be minimal and will not cause disruption to residents, who will be able to remain in place. Plans call for the replacement of in-unit appliances, cabinets, countertops, lighting and plumbing fixtures, as well as improvements to the roof, masonry, windows, landscaping and outdoor lighting. Furthermore, 31 units will be upgraded to become ADA accessible. The enhancements, which are expected to be complete in December, will provide comparable or better-quality housing than other properties in the market place.
Beyond its efforts of preserving and improving the quality of the existing affordable housing stock, Vitus also focuses on promoting wellness-centered communities that offer residents more opportunities to make healthier choices. The company’s “active design” will bring new amenities at both properties, including community gardens, indoor and outdoor activity space, drinking fountains and improved pedestrian pathways. Residents will also have access to onsite health programs that are provided free of charge, including exercise classes, nutrition education, health screenings, access to food pantries and social activities.
The affordable housing model Vitus promotes is part of a larger commitment to address the social determinants of health through the built environment. This is reflected in the organization’s commitment to Active Design Verified, a joint initiative of the Partnership for a Healthier America and the Center for Active Design. Through the partnership, Vitus is integrating active design strategies and health programs in an estimated 3,000 units of affordable housing throughout the United States, affecting more than 5,000 people.
Image courtesy of Vitus Group