News

Developer Picked for Historic Germantown YWCA Adaptive Reuse Project

A developer has been picked to rehabilitate the historic Germantown YWCA building, officials announced yesterday.

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) Board of Directors has chosen minority-owned KBK Enterprises to purchase and re-develop the historic building that sits on the edge of Vernon Park at 5820-24 Germantown Avenue.

KBK Enterprises, which has offices in Columbus, OH and Pittsburgh, PA, has plans for an adaptive-reuse project that will convert the YWCA into 12 1-bedroom and 12 2-bedroom apartments. Half of the units will be affordable and the other half will be market-rate. In addition to the apartments, the plan calls for commercial and office space on the first floor.

The news comes after the city issued an RFP last July for the rehabilitation project. In selecting the final bid, the PRA considered the project concept and how it would align with the Germantown community, the developer’s track record, and economic opportunity that the project would provide.

The historic building dates back to 1915, and served as a safe haven for black and white women in Germantown and became deeply involved with the Civil Rights movement. But in more recent years, the abandoned building had fallen victim to fires and decay and was at risk of demolition due to its state.

The development agreement is still be finalized, but if City Council approves the proposal, the rehabilitation will be KBK Enterprise’s first Philly-based project, but it has invested $1 billion in real estate across the country. It’s currently a part of a $267 million redevelopment project in Detroit that will also include affordable housing.

The Germantown YWCA adaptive reuse is expected to be complete in summer 2019.