This real estate firm wants your ideas for revitalizing Kensington's commercial corridor - Generocity Philly

Method

Oct. 27, 2017 12:55 pm

This real estate firm wants your ideas for revitalizing Kensington’s commercial corridor

How would you use an empty property on Kensington Avenue? Tell Shift Capital as part of the social impact real estate developer's Kensington Avenue Storefront Challenge.

One of Shift Capital's properties that could house your idea.

(GIF via YouTube)

Kensington Avenue needs some help. See: the opioid epidemic, blight.

Shift Capital, the social impact developer bringing “community-driven real estate” to the area by redeveloping old industrial buildings, wants to hear from you and anyone else on how to bring the commercial corridor — specifically from Lehigh Avenue to Erie Avenue — back to life through its Kensington Avenue Storefront Challenge.

The developer launched the challenge last month and has since been working to both spread the word of the effort and encourage anyone to send in applications for their concepts on the “reimagining of Kensington Ave as the safe, innovative, inclusive heart of the community.”

Here’s how it all works: You have until Wednesday, Nov. 1, to send in an application that details your concept for redeveloping one of 14 unused properties currently owned by Shift Capital (nine are brick-and-mortar buildings and five are lots).  Shift Capital will announce finalists on Nov. 17, who will then present their concepts via Shark Tank-style pitches to a panel of judges sometime in December. Up to 10 concepts will then receive funding and support to get their projects rolling.

Got an idea? Because as Maria Sourbeer, VP of development at Shift Capital, said, the team really wants to know about it, so go ahead and download the application here.

Sourbeer said they’ve seen a good amount of interest from a variety of people and business owners at the challenge’s launch event and open house viewings — daycares, gyms, food trucks all want to move into a permanent space. They decided to open up the challenge to anyone, in addition to making the application as flexible as possible, to encourage as many different ideas as possible for what Shift Capital hopes will be a corridor that will reactivate jobs and activity throughout the neighborhood.

From our Partners

But keeping community betterment at the forefront of the challenge remains a key element to the effort, with the panel of judges that will be selecting the final winners comprised of those who would be impacted the most by whatever new tenants take over the properties.

“It was really important to us that we have people who were familiar with Kensington,” Sourbeer said. “We wanted local residents and local businesses and local leaders. We did accomplish that.”

She added that Shift Capital, as well as its various collaborators, is thinking about issues like gentrification, something they’re hoping to curtail by providing long-term leases to the challenge winners so they stay more committed to the neighborhood in the years to come.

In addition to one year of free rent, the list of rewards and services from Shift Capital and its partners on this challenge all seem to encourage commitment:

  • Up to $10,000 toward the interior improvements of the retail space from Shift Capital
  • $5,000 toward installing signage and storefront features, then 50 percent of costs thereafter up to a total of $10,000 per storefront (or $15,000 for a corner store) from the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce
  • $5,000 toward the cost of installing exterior security cameras from the Department of Commerce
  • Technical assistance from New Kensington Community Development Corporation and Impact Services which includes licensing and permitting assistance, navigating city departments and resources, etc.
  • Participation in the Kiva Zip loan program
  • Potential to negotiate ownership of property at end of lease

“I think everybody we’re working with is interested in having a safe, beautiful, clean neighborhood,” Sourbeer said.

Want more richly researched and deeply sourced community reporting?  Become a Generocity member for $10 per month -30-
LEAVE A COMMENT

From our Partners

Place-Based Impact Investing 101: How local dollars can be deployed to benefit local communities

How ReStore’s self-sustaining revenue model supports local housing in Philadelphia

This meetup is for Philly women who want to live zero-waste lives

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

Nonprofits and startups can win up to $360K at the WeWork Creator Awards

Philadelphia

Friends of the Rail Park

Friends of the Rail Park | Community Engagement and Programs Manager

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA (or surrounding areas)

Technically Media

Events Coordinator

Apply Now
Philadelphia

Police Athletic League of Philadelphia

Police Athletic League of Philadelphia | Grants Manager

Apply Now

United By Blue is on tour to clean the country’s waterways

This 84-year-old Philly rabbi’s arrest went viral. Here’s his handbook for protesting ICE

Broke in Philly made a resource map for low-income Philadelphians

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

12 Philly immigrants who are ready to mobilize

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Bethesda Project

Director of Shelter

Apply Now
Philadelphia

free library of Philadelphia foundation

Manager of Communications

Apply Now
Bala Cynwyd, PA

Living Beyond Breast Cancer

Manager, Corporate Relations

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Generocity