PlanPhilly

Remaking Sharswood

Sharswood Exhibit at PennDesign

This exhibit features students' work from multiple universities and was created by the Young Friends of the Preservation Alliance. The students analyzed community initiatives and designs to be implemented in the…

    • Rebuilding Sharswood: New housing nears completion, November 2016 | Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Remaking Sharswood: PHA celebrates 57 new rental units built at edge of Blumberg site

Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) brass will join elected officials and residents in North Philadelphia Wednesday morning to celebrate the completion of 57 new rental units. The brick townhomes represent the first…

    • Jazz trumpeter and bandleader Charlie Gaines plays with his band in Philadelphia in 1940. | John W. Mosley/Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection of Temple University Libraries

Revitalization stirs up memories of a time Sharswood pulsed with all that jazz

As the Philadelphia Housing Authority charges ahead with its ambitious plans to remake the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Sharswood, WHYY's Aaron Moselle looks back at the area's jazz legacy, rooted then…

    • Tommy Joshua, one of the founders of the North Philly Peace Park, gets ready to plant vegetables. (Brad Larrison/for NewsWorks)

Remaking Sharswood: A garden, a redevelopment plan, and a battle over who owns a neighborhood

Tommy Joshua was working in the garden when a guy from his neighborhood rode by on a bike and gave him some bad news. "Some dude, some like arbitrary man," Joshua…

    • Volunteers cut up wood during a

'Blitz Build' gives Sharswood's 100 year old Athletic Rec Center a makeover

A recreation center in North Philadelphia got an extreme makeover this week, thanks to a group of architects who were in town for an annual conference.  Athletic Recreation Center was built…

    • Site context for PHA's proposed headquarters on Ridge Avenue

Remaking Sharswood: Commission votes to upzone, strike streets for PHA’s new headquarters

On Tuesday the Philadelphia City Planning Commission unanimously recommended two zoning variances for the site of the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s new headquarters planned for Ridge Avenue in North Philadelphia. The authority…

    • Vacant property condemnation by eminent domain, Sharswood, February, 2016 | Emma Lee/WHYY

Remaking Sharswood: Council approves eminent domain of seven properties in Sharswood

City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Thursday authorizing the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) to seize seven properties in Sharswood by eminent domain. This will be PHA’s second round of condemnation in…

    • Former Blumberg resident James Norcome at his new Queen's Row. | Emma Lee/WHYY

Remaking Sharswood: Seniors not itching to return to Blumberg apartments in North Philly

All but one building at the Norman Blumberg Apartments will be erased: the Senior Tower. Like everyone who lived at Blumberg, these elder residents were relocated to make way for the…

    • After the implosion, one of three towers remains | Bastiaan Slabbers for NewsWorks

Remaking Sharswood: Rise and fall of the Norman Blumberg Apartments

It’s 6:30 a.m. on Saturday – chilly and still dark out. Philadelphia Housing Authority CEO, Kelvin Jeremiah tries to warm up the crowd of people gathering under a white tent, clutching…

    • Miller Memorial Baptist Church, Norman Blumberg Apartments loom behind, March 16, 2016 | Emma Lee/WHYY

Remaking Sharswood: Miller Memorial Baptist anchors a changing neighborhood

Early on the morning of March 19, two of the high-rise towers and 15 low-rise buildings that make up the Norman Blumberg Apartments will be imploded to make way for the…

    • Beatrice Mack, with demolition two doors down. February, 2016 | Emma Lee/WHYY

Remaking Sharswood: Taking a neighborhood through eminent domain in the name of ‘transformation’

In Sharswood dozens of residents are being displaced through the use of eminent domain, clearing a path for the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s sweeping plans to transform the neighborhood. For our series…

    • Vacant property condemnation by eminent domain, Sharswood, February, 2016 | Emma Lee/WHYY

Explainer: What is eminent domain? How is it working in Sharswood?

Eminent domain is a legal term that refers to the ability of certain public agencies to seize privately-held property under certain circumstances. This power is briefly detailed in the Fifth Amendment…

    • New housing on the way at the Norman Blumberg Apartments site. February, 2016 | Emma Lee/WHYY

Remaking Sharswood

The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) has embarked on its sweeping, half-billion dollar plan to replace its aged Norman Blumberg Apartments complex and remake a substantial portion of the surrounding Sharswood neighborhood,…

    • Sharswood-Blumberg area | PHA

Parsing the Housing Authority's plans for Sharswood

Ten years and $675 million. That’s what the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) is planning to spend on transforming Sharswood, the North Philadelphia neighborhood surrounding the Norman Blumberg public-housing complex, according to…

    • Norman Blumberg Apartments | Nathaniel Hamilton for NewsWorks

Housing Authority discusses Sharswood renewal project at Planning Commission

The Philadelphia Housing Authority plans to replace every unit of housing that will be lost in the demolition of the Blumberg project towers in North Philadelphia, a representative told the Planning…

    • Blumberg Apartments | Nathaniel Hamilton, for NewsWorks

Committee approves Housing Authority plan to acquire 1,300 North Philly properties

City Council’s Committee on Rules approved a plan on Tuesday that would allow the Philadelphia Housing Authority to acquire 1,300 properties in the North Philadelphia neighborhood surrounding the Norman Blumberg Apartments,…

About This Series
    • 2400 block of Oxford Street, demolition underway. February, 2016 | Emma Lee/WHYY
      2400 block of Oxford Street, demolition underway. February, 2016 | Emma Lee/WHYY
    • Beatrice Mack, with demolition two doors down. February, 2016 | Emma Lee/WHYY
      Beatrice Mack, with demolition two doors down. February, 2016 | Emma Lee/WHYY
    • New housing on the way at the Norman Blumberg Apartments site. February, 2016 | Emma Lee/WHYY
      New housing on the way at the Norman Blumberg Apartments site. February, 2016 | Emma Lee/WHYY
    • Blumberg Apartments | Nathaniel Hamilton, for NewsWorks
      Blumberg Apartments | Nathaniel Hamilton, for NewsWorks
    • Blumberg low-rises and new construction in progress. February, 2016 | Emma Lee/WHYY
      Blumberg low-rises and new construction in progress. February, 2016 | Emma Lee/WHYY
    • New construction, Sharswood. February, 2016 | Emma Lee/WHYY
      New construction, Sharswood. February, 2016 | Emma Lee/WHYY
    • Norman Blumberg Apartments model, 1969 | Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA
      Norman Blumberg Apartments model, 1969 | Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA
    • Southward on Ridge Ave, Sharswood, February 2016 | Kimberly Paynter/WHYY
      Southward on Ridge Ave, Sharswood, February 2016 | Kimberly Paynter/WHYY
    • 23rd and Nicholas, Sharswood, February 2016 | Kimberly Paynter/WHYY
      23rd and Nicholas, Sharswood, February 2016 | Kimberly Paynter/WHYY
    • Rebuilding Sharswood: New townhouse-style units cohabitate with the old Senior Tower on the Norman Blumberg Apartments site, November 2016 | Kimberly Paynter / WHYY
      Rebuilding Sharswood: New townhouse-style units cohabitate with the old Senior Tower on the Norman Blumberg Apartments site, November 2016 | Kimberly Paynter / WHYY
    • Rebuilding Sharswood: New housing nears completion, November 2016 | Kimberly Paynter / WHYY
      Rebuilding Sharswood: New housing nears completion, November 2016 | Kimberly Paynter / WHYY
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The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) has embarked on a sweeping, half-billion dollar plan to replace its aged Norman Blumberg Apartments complex and remake a substantial portion of the surrounding Sharswood neighborhood, a section of North Philly just north of Girard College. NewsWorks and PlanPhilly reporters are producing a series on Sharswood that will trace the history of the Blumberg site, PHA’s evolving plans for Sharswood, and stories from the neighborhood as its promised transformation begins.

On March 19, 2016, PHA imploded two of the towers at the Norman Blumberg Apartments, a 1960s public housing complex on an eight-acre site comprised of three towers and 15 low-rise buildings. In razing Blumberg, the authority is making good on a long-standing promise to improve the state of public housing in this corner of North Philly. It will mark the beginning of the authority’s most ambitious project ever, promising not only to replace the aging housing complex but remake its neighborhood too.

 
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