Work begins on senior center at Liddonfield site

NewCourtland has begun construction on the first phase of the redevelopment of the former Liddonfield Homes site in Upper Holmesburg.

The Upper Holmesburg Civic Association meets on the third Thursday of the month at St. Dominic’s Marian Hall, 8532 Frankford Ave. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

Construction has begun on the first phase of the redevelopment of the former Liddonfield Homes site at Torresdale Avenue and Megargee Street.

Upper Holmesburg Civic Association zoning chair Paul DeFinis told residents last week that NewCourtland has begun work on the project, which has been years in the making.

Bob Theil, a spokesman for NewCourtland, confirmed the news and said the first phase will be building a Living Independently For Elders center. The LIFE program, which is administered by InnovAge, provides services to help seniors remain in their homes.

Theil said the 26,000-square-foot center is expected to open next summer. Work on the next phase of the project, athletic fields for Holy Family University, will begin in the coming months, he said.

NewCourtland hopes to begin constructing the senior housing portion of the project by the end of this year, according to Theil. In total, 300 units are planned, but they will be built in 75-unit increments.

Theil said the first part of the housing complex is expected to open in March 2021.

NewCourtland purchased the 32-acre Liddonfield site in 2017 from the Philadelphia Housing Authority. The public housing development was completely demolished in 2010.

In other news from the March 21 UHCA meeting, the civic association decided not to support a zoning application for a triplex at 4420 Abderdale Road.

Jake Rosenthal, the property’s owner, said he recently purchased the property as a triplex, not knowing that it was legally zoned only for a duplex. He said he inherited three existing tenants.

Nobody at the meeting seemed vehemently opposed, but UHCA President Stan Cywinski said the group’s hands were tied. The civic association previously passed a resolution not to support any new rentals in the neighborhood.

Cywinski said the group has opposed applications for rental properties in the past based on the resolution.

“I think the issue is we can’t make an exemption without opening ourselves up to a lawsuit,” he said.

Rosenthal’s case will be heard by the Zoning Board of Adjustment on April 10.

The Upper Holmesburg Civic Association’s next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 18, at 7 p.m. at St. Dominic’s Marian Hall, 8532 Frankford Ave. ••

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at jtomczuk@newspapermediagroup.com