Mayor Nutter Celebrates Opening of New Mixed-Use Development

Osun Village in its early stages, April 2010.

Philadelphia, December 13, 2010- Today, Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Council President Anna Verna joined Universal Companies and ODUNDE, Inc. to celebrate the opening of Osun Village, a mixed-use development of affordable housing, office and commercial space. The development offers 16 affordable rental homes for senior citizens and features 1,100 square feet of ground floor retail space at 2308-2314 Grays Ferry Avenue in South Philadelphia.

Developed by Osun Village Partnership, LP, a joint venture of Universal Companies and Susie White, Inc., an affiliate entity of ODUNDE, Inc., Osun Village was designed specifically for the needs of seniors. Each unit features call system that connects directly to emergency services and utilizes keyless entry for easy resident access. The development offers a first floor community room, laundry facility and rear patio. The development is within close proximity to public transportation, healthcare facilities, shopping and the amenities of Center City.

Funded in part by stimulus (ARRA) funds, the development has created both construction and permanent jobs.

“Osun Village not only helps fill a gap in affordable housing for seniors, but it also creates local jobs,” said Mayor Nutter. “In fact, over 115 construction workers helped build this wonderful facility and multiple positions will be here permanently. The stimulus funds created jobs that enabled individuals to support their families, generated economic activity and helped build needed affordable housing.”

Osun Village features 16 one-bedroom apartments for residents who are 62 years and must have an income at or below 50% of area median income (AMI). ($27,450 for a single person household). All units are “visitable,” one unit is accessible for people with disabilities and one unit is accessible for people with hearing and vision impairments.

Council President Verna said “This is an important development because it creates necessary housing opportunities for seniors, a population that needs our support. I am proud to celebrate the opening of this significant building.”

The first floor contains office space that will house an on-site property manager as well as the ODUNDE, Inc. organizational and program offices. The development team is currently in discussion with commercial tenants to occupy the ground-floor retail space.

Lois Hernandez, founder of ODUNDE, Inc., said “Osun, the goddess of love and beauty, shines. We named the development after Osun because it was love and determination that made this development possible. ODUNDE now has a permanent home right in the center of this culturally historic African American community. We are grateful for all of the funders and supporters.”

Rahim Islam, President and CEO of Universal Companies said, “We are proud to offer the community much-needed senior housing that not only offers quality homes, but accessibility and safety. We thank all of our partners who helped make this project possible.”

Congressman Fattah said, “President Obama’s Recovery Act continues to do its job, helping to put Philadelphians back to work and into homes. Universal Companies and ODUNDE deserve our thanks for pulling together many partners to offer accessible homes for our seniors while creating both short and long-term economic opportunities in the community.”

Osun Village was made possible by strong support from the city. The City of Philadelphia provided $1.5 million through Community Development Block Grant funds.  Other support for the development included $2.4 million from the National Equity Fund, $750,000 in stimulus funding from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), and $79,000 from the Economic Development Initiative of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce provided $220,000 to support the commercial space.

Brian A. Hudson, Sr., executive director of PHFA, said, “Osun Village will provide much-needed quality senior housing, while improving the long-term economic vitality of the neighborhood. It will be an asset to the local community and serve as a model to be duplicated across the commonwealth.”

“Osun Village is an example of the important developments that Community Development Block Grant funds all over Philadelphia,” said Deborah McColloch, director of the city’s Office of Housing and Community Development. “CDBG supports housing, jobs and neighborhood revitalization activities throughout the city.”

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