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Former Halfway House Becomes Shared Living Space for Entrepreneurs in Brewerytown

February 25, 2014 Category: Uncategorized

Former office of Josh Meyer, owner of the properties

Just outside the stone walls of Girard College, a former halfway house is being transformed into a low-rent living space for social entrepreneurs and local craftsmen. Martin Montero, founder of Startup Basecamp Philly, said that the goal of the project is to cut the cost of living for entrepreneurs, creatives and change-makers so they can spend more of their time and money on their work.

Startup Basecamp began in San Francisco. Philadelphia is only the second location in the country to open and the first shared living space of its kind in Philadelphia. Many of the 24 rooms in the three row homes remain unfinished, but renovations should be completed this spring.

“The goal we are working towards is that for $400 a month residents will be able to have rent, utilities and basic foods (think staples not special diets) covered,” Montero wrote in an email.

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First finished house of Startup Basecamp.

Though the row homes are connected by internal doorways, they are more or less separate row homes. One of the homes is completely refurbished, with a rustic wood style and fully-furnished kitchen. The other two properties are in varying stages of completion, but many of the rooms have been cleared of junk and given basic repairs. The finishing work has hardly begun.

In the meantime, Montero is bringing in tenants who are also craftsmen. The idea allow them to pay for their rent by contributing to the buildings. Plumbing and electricity will likely be handled by contractors, but these work-for-housing arrangements will take on much of the cleaning and basic construction.

Montero has attempted to launch similar projects in cities around the county, but “Philadelphia is the first place where it all came together,” he said.

Part of this has to do with low property values, Montero said, but the rest comes down to the fact that there was a willingness to get involved and do the hard work, one room, one house at a time.

From our Partners

“This place changes just a little bit everyday,” Montero said.

CORRECTION: A prior version of this story referred to Josh Meyer as a partner in Startup Basecamp Philly. In fact, he is only the owner of the properties. 

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