Two historic Kensington banks may be one step closer to the wrecking ball. The Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP), which owns the banks at the corner of Front and Norris Streets, has received federal tax credits for its proposed low-income housing development on the site.
The project, known as the Nitza Tufino Townhomes, will receive just under $800,000 in low-income housing tax credits, and is to consist of 25 apartments and a community center with 10 on-site parking spaces. Construction would involve the complete demolition of the Ninth National Bank and the Industrial Title and Savings Trust Company, both of which were erected in the 1880s and recently listed on the Kensington Textile National Historic District.
The funding was announced by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) on Thursday. In all, PHFA allocated $16 million to 17 applicants, eight of them in Philadelphia, as part of its annual funding cycle for urban areas.
Among the Philadelphia recipients, the largest was the 94-unit development at 8th and Arch Streets proposed by Project H.O.M.E. Also receiving tax credits is the Arab-American Development Corporation, also in Kensington, whose Tajdeed project at Oxford and Cadwallader Streets is entangled in an eminent domain controversy.
WCRP’s funding approval follows the Zoning Board of Adjustment’s approving a variance for the townhomes last August. The neighbors’ appeal of that decision to the Common Pleas Court is now scheduled to be heard in June.