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NewCourtland buys PHA’s Liddonfield site

NewCourtland will expand its senior housing and health-care programs at the former public housing site in Upper Holmesburg.

NewCourtland Senior Services said Monday it purchased the Philadelphia Housing Authority's 32-acre former Liddonfield public housing site in Northeast Philadelphia for $5.5 million and will use it for senior housing, a health and community center, and sports fields for nearby Holy Family University.

"This major purchase and our plans for Northeast Philadelphia represent NewCourtland's vision for not only a unique, transformative, community, but our commitment to further expansion beyond today's announcement," NewCourtland president and chief executive Gail Kass said in a news release.

The total project cost is expected to be $147 million.

Occupying one-third of the site will be senior housing and a 15,000 square-foot center for NewCourtland's Living Independently for Elders (LIFE) program, which is a health program for seniors who are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid and sick enough to be in a nursing home, but choose to remain at home while receiving comprehensive health services through the LIFE center.

On another third of the site, NewCourtland plans to build athletic facilities for softball, lacrosse, soccer, and track. The remaining third will be reserved for later use, the nonprofit NewCourtland said.

NewCourtland already has three LIFE centers, in Germantown, Allegheny West, and Mayfair. Another is under development in East Falls, at the former Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, which NewCourtland bought in 2015 for $2.1 million.

The Liddonfield site in Upper Holmesburg has sat unused since 2010, when the buildings were demolished. PHA was negotiating a deal with a for-profit developer that included a $4.2 million price tag, senior housing, student housing for Holy Family, and playing field, but it was not completed.

Two years ago, PHA put the site out for bid again, resulting in the deal with NewCourtland. PHA has agreed to provide $3 million in annual funding through its Housing Choice Voucher Program for 20  years.