Continuing what Mayor Michael Nutter and called the move toward "transit-oriented development," builders broke ground Friday on 149 apartments behind SEPTA's Ivy Ridge Train Station.
On a sunny fall day, J.G. Petrucci Co. celebrated the groundbreaking for the Station at Manayunk, which promises luxury one and two-bedroom apartments, some of which may be available for the public in the summer of 2013.
In his former role as Manayunk's city councilman for 14.5 years, Nutter became familiar with the parcel of land between the Schuylkill River and Umbria Street. He recalled campaign days at the regional rail station and the projects that stalled at the Station site.
"There will be hundreds of people, not only working at this site, but living at this site... We've been wanting developement at this site for a long, long time. And we need this kind of foresight and focus," he said.
Nutter—who thanked Greg Rogerson, from the developer, for picking up the project and delivering what he called a viable and inspired project—said the apartments were funded without public money.
"Ultimately, this is about entrepreneurship and risk. It's about believing that the opportunity is right and the moment has come," he said.
The New Jersey-based J.G. Petrucci Co. described its goal in development.
"Forward thinking is critical to urban redevelopment. Taking an older industrial site with great infrastructure but is obsolete, and, maybe has environmental problems and bringing it back to a productive use, getting people off the roads and into our city is critical to future growth," Rogerson said.
The Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment approved the project Sept. 21, 2011, allowing building demolition, which already took place, and 168 total dwelling units.
According to city permits, the projects calls for 15 buildings, with residential buildings, clubhouse and fitness center—all of which will be LEED certified. In total, 199 parking spaces are planned with property access coming from Parker Avenue. Bicycle storage will also occur.
Jones called the project an example of Nutter's environmental leadership during his tenure.
"The idea of transit-oriented development is to more more people fewer miles and you become a green city."
The councilman said the collaborative effort between the developer, city and neighborhood, quoting 21st Ward Democratic Leader Lou Agre in saying, "Working together we can do extraordinary things."
The politicians hoped the project would bring young professionals into Manayunk to access Center City through the regional rail and walk to Main Street.