The Eastern Tower Community Center is a planned mixed-use recreation center, housing development and retail space to be located on 10th and Vine streets. The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation has been working on the project for the last two years and has drawn support from foundations, individuals donors, and private investors. Lt. Governor Jim Cawley announced at press conference today that the state of Pennsylvania will also contribute a $3.7 million grant.
“What this project represents, I think, is something very important,” said Cawley at the press conference, which was held across the street from the future site. “It is a recognition that Chinese Asian-American communities have a number of needs that we as a commonwealth need to address.”
He went on to outline the distinct problems facing Chinatown and its residents, referencing U.S. Census data from recent years:
- 17 percent of Asian-Americans in Philadelphia are unemployed, compared with city average of 12 percent
- 61 percent of Asian-Americans have only limited English proficiency, the highest of any racial or ethnic group
- 56 percent of Chinese families are low-income
- 46 percent of households in the core of Chinatown make less than $10,000 per year
The plan for Eastern Tower is to address each of these issues, at least in part, through a mix of health and educational services available within the building, designated community spaces, retail space and over 140 residential units.
The location was chosen to help Chinatown expand north across the Vine Street Expressway, explained Andrew Toy, managing director of the project. “We’re really doing this to bridge this gap,” he said, raising his voice over the roar of traffic.
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For more information, read our story on some of the grassroots fundraising happening around the project.-30-
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