The Sharswood neighborhood, in North Philadelphia, is seeing significant redevelopment right now. The rebuilding of the former Blumberg housing project by the Philadelphia Housing Authority is the biggest development in the neighborhood, but other developments are occurring. The PHA is seeking to attract private developers to many currently vacant parcels and buildings, but the biggest vacant structure in the neighborhood is the former John F. Reynolds School, at 23rd and Jefferson Streets. The former Reynolds School will be renovated into apartments for older adults, focusing on veterans, by HelpUSA. It will be known as Help Philadelphia VI, the latest in a series of similar projects in Philadelphia by HelpUSA. PHA is leasing the site to HelpUSA. Help Philadelphia VI is being designed by Kramer Marks Architects.
Help Philadelphia VI will have 67 rental units. Almost all of them will be one-bedroom units of 670 to 940 square feet, but four of them will be two-bedroom units. They are for people 52 years old and older, with a preference for veterans. The renovation will include an addition over the old school gym, which will be 62 feet at the roof and which will house some of the rental units and some offices for supportive services for the residents. The Reynolds School is four stories and 72 feet tall, with a below ground level that is partially above ground. The renovated building will, also, have a lounge, meeting rooms, and a community room. The community room and meeting rooms can be used by community groups for meetings and other community events. Outside will be sixteen parking spaces, including van accessible spaces, and a bicycle rack.
Help Philadelphia VI redevelops a vacant property before it might become blighted and adds community space in the rapidly redeveloping Sharswood neighborhood. Along with the rebuilding of the Blumberg project, it helps make the surrounding neighborhood more attractive for the private development and investment that the PHA, and community groups, are hoping to attract to the neighborhood.