NE residents revitalize Spring Garden school

A short video detailing the North Philadelphia landmark’s revitalization from abandoned property to affordable housing is entered in a film contest.

Building hope: The building at 1146 Melon St. in North Philadelphia had been abandoned since 1984 and became a haven for crime. Architect Jonathan Lindstrom served as the project manager and Kramer+Marks director of affordable housing Erika Scharr helped turn the decrepit neighborhood eyesore into affordable housing for homeless veterans and seniors. Source: Cheryl Hess

Two Northeast Philadelphia residents who last year helped revitalize Spring Garden School talked about the importance of historic preservation.

Architect Jonathan Lindstrom served as the project manager and Kramer+Marks director of affordable housing Erika Scharr helped turn the decrepit neighborhood eyesore into affordable housing for homeless veterans and seniors. Philadelphia Housing Authority teamed up with Help USA to make the conversion happen.

The building at 1146 Melon St. in North Philadelphia had been abandoned since 1984 and became a haven for crime.

A short film about the building’s revitalization, Past/Presence: Saving the Spring Garden School is in public voting for the American Institute of Architects Film Challenge. The video can be viewed and voted here.

Sharr recalled seeing how badly the condition of the building was when she first walked inside.

“My favorite image in the video is something spray painted the word ‘Thanks’ on a construction sign,” she said. “The neighborhood and community was appreciative of the development.”

Lindstrom said the video and the project speak to the importance of historic preservation.

“Spring Garden School was a significant piece of architecture that had a notable presence in the community for close to 100 years, and without that building being preserved, there wasn’t much else to do with it,” he said. ••