Ardmore Crossing - Award Winning Revitilization Project

Location:
Lower Merion Township, PA
award1Ardmore Crossing is the result of the unified vision of various public and private stakeholder groups and their successful collaboration and cooperation to create a walkable community with contemporary-style townhomes and rental apartments for mixed-income families and senior citizens.

Impact
This site has experienced new life through the initial cleanup and reuse of a contaminated brownfield once owned by the Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO). In an area of the county where affordable housing is scarce, Ardmore crossing provides 53 rental units affordable to low-and moderate-income senior citizens and five townhomes affordable to moderate-income first-time homebuyers, alongside 26 market rate townhomes. The renovation of the site and its combination of affordable and market rate housing have increased the value of this property substantially, providing increased tax revenues for the township.

Design
This innovative project incorporates adaptive reuse of a brownfield site with the provision of affordable and market rate housing. The property, vacant for nearly five years, was in a severe state of disrepair and decay and was an eyesore in the community. The outstanding townhome design incorporates a variety of dwelling types and affordability. Affordable units are indistinguishable from neighboring market rate homes, a commendable feature for an affordable housing project. Amenities include attractive common areas, landscaped parking, and community gardens. Furthermore, the location is within walking distance to shopping and a local regional rail station, and all units are 100 percent accessible to persons with special needs.

Process
From the very start of the development process, there was substantial collaboration and cooperation between the owner, local professionals, the public, and the local government. The development plan was presented in a series of public meetings to the community, and significant changes to the plan were made based on public input. With the community desiring more affordable housing, the developer embarked on a joint venture with an affordable housing partner and was able to secure housing investment tax credits that subsidized the development of the senior housing. Continuing on this course, they worked in conjunction with Lower Merion Township and the school board, as well as Montgomery County, to secure Tax Increment Financing (TIF) allowing five of the market rate townhomes to be offered for sale to first-time homebuyers at more than 40 percent below market value. Ardmore Crossing demonstrates how vision and collaboration and cooperation early on in the development process can result in a successful project that benefits many. This multi-housing, mixed income development is an asset to the community and Montgomery County.