Project HOME’s JBJ Soul Homes Development Receives Inaugural 2014 ULI Award for Excellence

Posted on: June 19th, 2014 by KitchenAdmin No Comments


06.19.2014 — On Wednesday, June 18, 2014 the Philadelphia Chapter of the Urban Land Institute handed out its first ever Willard G. “Bill” Rouse Awards for Excellence, focused on the organization’s international theme of Building Healthy Places. Out of 28 finalists selected in May, JBJ Soul Homes—a Project HOME facility in North Philadelphia designed by Kitchen & Associates of Collingswood, New Jersey—was one of nine projects to receive this honor.

Located on a unique triangular site at the intersection of North Broad Street and Fairmount and Ridge Avenues in North Philadelphia, JBJ Soul Homes is the most recent in a growing line of successful, supportive housing projects throughout Philadelphia developed by Project HOME, a non-profit, non-sectarian organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty by providing affordable housing and community services to both homeless and low-income individuals. Primarily funded through Low Income Housing Tax Credits, public donations and private equity—including support from the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation and Middleton Housing Partnership, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, the City of Philadelphia and FHLBank Pittsburgh—the JBJ Soul Homes facility is a new, four-story mixed-use development including retail space, offices and a total of fifty-five supportive apartment units dedicated to homeless adults currently making the transition into more permanent housing solutions.


In addition to the residential component of the project, JBJ Soul Homes also includes administrative offices and suites for supportive services and Project HOME staff, as well as shared community spaces, a computer lab, laundry room, exercise room and resident storage facilities. A commercial retail component is planned for the ground level in partnership with local community-based groups and organizations. The facility also contains on-site parking spaces for twenty vehicles.

The development evolved into a four-story building with ground floor retail space along Ridge Avenue, helping to fulfill the planned and historic role of that artery as a vibrant commercial corridor in the neighborhood. The retail space continues around the Ridge/Fairmount corner of the site, with prominent exposure to Broad Street, and encompassing nearly half of the ground floor frontage on Fairmount Avenue. The remainder of the Fairmount Avenue side of the building includes the main entrance and lobby for both the residential and commercial office uses on the upper floors, as well building management functions on the ground floor.


The site was historically used for automotive and low-rise residential uses until its acquisition by Greater Exodus Baptist Church (GEBC). In 2007, after gaining control of the land parcels that make up the 1/2-acre lot, GEBC set about the task of demolishing the old and unsafe structures, and the environmental remediation of hazardous materials above and below grade. With the site cleared and ready for development, GEBC began reaching out to potential development partners for the site.

In 2009, GEBC and Project HOME finalized the development plan for the site that would serve both the needs and mission of each organization. Project HOME, bringing over 15 years of experience in this neighborhood with its large mixed-use project at 1515 Fairmount Avenue, would provide the development experience necessary to carry the project to fruition. Between the time of the agreement in 2009 and the groundbreaking in October of 2012, the development partners worked with community members from the Francisville Neighborhood Development Corporation and the Spring Garden Community Development Corporation to refine the project to meet the needs and goals of these groups and the communities they represent.


For this year’s ULI awards program, a total of fifty-seven projects were submitted, with twenty-eight selected as finalists by a prestigious panel of jurors from around the country. Kitchen & Associates had two projects in the running—JBJ Soul Homes and Cedars Village, an affordable senior residence in the Italian Market neighborhood of Philadelphia. At the end of the night, JBJ Soul Homes would be one of the nine projects to take home top honors. The ULI jury praised this project in particular for its strong integration of “community mission, living space and supportive amenities.” Jury members were also impressed with “how the team maximized [what was] a challenging site”—occupying a narrow, triangular plot at the corner of three major Philadelphia traffic arteries.

JBJ Soul Homes continues the Project HOME paradigm of not only envisioning, but also developing and creating real-world, affordable supportive housing opportunities throughout the Philadelphia area for both homeless and low-income individuals of all ages. On the surface, it might only represent a small step for a neighborhood and city in need of more concrete and tangible affordable housing solutions for those members at the bottom of the economic strata. But at its core this project represents a huge leap forward in how we as a collective society, community and culture think about, design for, and ultimately implement these solutions in a way that not only benefits the individuals these solutions aim to serve, but the surrounding community as well.


Congratulations to the entire Kitchen & Associates JBJ Soul Homes design team who worked so diligently on this project throughout the long, four-plus year journey from the initial evaluation of multiple sites throughout the City of Philadelphia to the ultimate move-in by both the new residents and Project HOME staff. Deserving specific mention for their role on this exciting, award-winning project are Matt Bartner, AIA, LEED® AP BD+C, Sean Hill, Keith Johnson, Claire Van Haren, Melissa Mayer, Danielle Sabatelli, Alkesh Taylor, PE, LEED AP, Ryan Wolfe, PE, Ismail Didona, Roger Keyser, AIA and Mary Johannesen, AIA, LEED AP.

The JBJ Soul Homes’ 2014 ULI Award for Excellence was proudly accepted on Wednesday, June 18 by Joan McConnon, Associate Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer of Project HOME.



For information on all the 2014 Inaugural ULI Award for Excellence recipients, please visit the ULI Philadelphia Award Winners Web Page.


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