In June, Presby’s Inspired Life held its lease-up event for Cantrell Place, a new community with 61 units of affordable housing for those age 62 and better. They were met with an eager crowd on a sunny Philly morning as nearly 100 potential residents lined the sidewalks outside Presby’s Jackson Place community, a day early to apply for an apartment. The vision for Cantrell Place, located at 5th and Cantrell Streets in South Philadelphia, was developed in 2011 as a grassroots movement involving local residents, community groups and civic leaders. The project was made possible through a $1 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) Grant administered through PIDC.

Maintaining a home, both in financial and physical upkeep as a senior can become a difficult task, so many seniors see opting for apartment style living as a better choice. “I need a clean, safe, affordable living area so I don’t have to maintain a whole house anymore. It’s financially stressful with me being the sole person in it,” says Ralph Lowman who was number 4 in line. “It would be more economic and it would be beneficial for me to move into a community like Cantrell. Cantrell is a place I know where I can maintain the lifestyle I’m used to without feeling like I’m forced out from a neighborhood I’m familiar with.”

In September, 2017, local officials, including Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney, who grew up on Cantrell Street, helped break ground on the new site which has since been transformed from 33 blighted vacant lots to its current state. “The seniors in this neighborhood have done so much for us and this is why they deserve to live comfortably and securely,” Mayor Kenney said. “They especially deserve to remain in their neighborhoods where they’ve lived their entire lives.”

Opening this fall, Cantrell Place will also feature a garden, parking, a community space, easy access to public transportation, and shopping districts. Health and wellness assistance was also a key factor in the project as benefits include a partnership with a local pharmacy to deliver medications and a social services coordinator to link the residents to vital resources. The potential residents are excited about this ease of living. “I like it here in South Philly,” says potential resident, Jian S. Long, via translator. “This building will be safe and comfortable, and I just want to stay here in South Philly.”

Presby is already looking to the future as they seek to expand affordable senior living across the city. Witherspoon Senior Apartments, another affordable housing community coming this fall, will be the fourth community on Presby’s 58th Street Campus. It will offer 60 units of housing for those 62 and better, in Southwest Philadelphia this coming fall. For more information on both Cantrell Place and Witherspoon Senior Apartments, please call 610-260-1124.

Cantrell Place Lease-Up Event

Architectural rending of Cantrell Place