Private-sector construction is slowing, and firms are glad to get government work when it's available.

Updated: The Housing Authority of Chester County plans to tear down its 25-unit, 5.5-acre Fairview public housing complex at Fairview and Grant streets on the borough of Phoenixville's north side, and replace it with "50 family townhouse units", says Wayne-based Remington Group Inc., hired last month as the authority's representative and project manager.

The project will be funded by "a mix of federal Housing and Urban Development, county, and low-income housing tax credits," along with some units built by Habitat for Humanity and others sold at "market rate," says William F. Connor, owner of Remington Group, Wayne, which was hired last month as the authority's representative and project manager.

The authority selected Pennrose Properties LLC, based in Philadelphia's Brewerytown section, as the developer, though there's still no final agreement. "It's at the sketch plan stage," said borough manager L. Jean Krack. "They would have to convince the planning commission or the borough council that this (higher) density works."

"It's in the early stages of seeking planning approvals," said Timothy Henkel, senior vice president at Pennrose. He said proposals for the Fairview site resemble the first stage of the 19-acre Delaware County Housing Authority's Fairgrounds development in Chester Township, which Pennrose is also developing.  "It's a very similar style. Twins and two, three and four-unit buildings." The county housing authority would relocate families forced out by demolition, Henkel said.

Connor figures it will take a year to get traffic and design plans finished and approved. "We're into next year, definitely," said Henkel. Among the parties the builders are trying to please is the St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Garden, which uses part of the site and donates some of its vegetables to poor people.