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ParkWest Town Center Breaks Ground

PARKWEST TOWN CENTER, 52ND AND JEFFERSON, PHILADELPHIA, April 11, 2007

PHILADELPHIA, PA, April 11, 2007, The Goldenberg Group (“TGG”), a leading Philadelphia area real estate developer, and West Philadelphia Financial Services Institution (“WPFSI”), a community development financial institution, held a groundbreaking ceremony for the long awaited $50 million retail center to be developed in the vicinity of 52nd and Jefferson Streets on April 11, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. The 340,000 square foot shopping center is of one of the most exciting and important neighborhood transformation projects West Philadelphia has seen in decades.

The ParkWest Town Center partnership is a model for public-private sector development and is an example of development done right! Notably, the center has achieved numerous goals that bring together the efforts of community development, private development and government support to include:

  1. The largest retail project to be completed in any Federal Empowerment zone located in Pennsylvania
  2. The largest single development to be completed in West Philadelphia
  3. A true community partnership, where 30 percent of the profits will be directly reinvested back into the community
  4. Creation of 420 construction jobs and more than 640 permanent positions
  5. The elimination of significant blight
  6. A relocation program, with the assistance of key community groups, where all affected residents were successfully relocated within the neighborhood or nearby communities
  7. The first project of its kind to receive funding from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development
  8. Minority participation rates that exceed 35 percent
  9. Equal Opportunity Plan to increase the number of minority, female, and disabled-owned businesses at the center, as well as job training for community residents
  10. Made possible in part by Wachovia Bank through the Federal Government’s New Markets Tax Credit program.

“This project required vision, unwavering commitment and significant community involvement,” said Ken Goldenberg, president and CEO of TGG. “Our relationship with WPFSI and the community resulted in the creation of what will become a true model of empowerment for West Philadelphia and other communities.”

ParkWest Town Center will be built on a 22-acre former rail yard owned by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) and nine acres of mixed-use residential lots. The project began in 1997, when WPFSI was charged by the Empowerment Zone’s governing body to develop a supermarket anchored retail center in the neighborhood. Working with the assistance of the PIDC, WPFSI issued an RFP and ultimately selected TGG to co-develop the site. For more than six years, the team unsuccessfully attempted to attract a supermarket anchor to the center. The team redefined the entire project by nearly tripling the project size and scope, and through its established relationships, sought to attract a national retailer anchor to the center.

“This unique partnership between non-profit and for-profit entities has been the key to our success so far in this process,” said Jim Burnett, Executive Director of WPFSI. “In working with public, private, state, and local entities, ParkWest Town Center has truly been a model of successful urban development through partnership.”

“ParkWest Town Center will have an enormous impact on the revitalization of this neighborhood”, said Eva Gladstein, director of Neighborhood Transformation. “Commercial Corridors are integral to the revitalization of neighborhoods. We are thrilled that the Empowerment Zone could contribute. With the ReStore Philadelphia Corridors program we will be able to support similar projects. This $65 million citywide investment will help to restore commercial corridors to their historic role as central places to shop, to work and to meet neighbors.”

The partnership formed an alliance with the Parkside Association, a not-for-profit housing rehabilitation developer and Community Ventures, a community organization, to relocate residents into new homes on Parkside Avenue. All of the current homeowners have agreed to relocate and have been part of the development process since the early stages.

Lowe’s Home Improvement will anchor the project along with the largest ShopRite supermarket in the Philadelphia area. Other retailers include a Radio Shack, Eternity, Mc Donald’s Restaurant, a Wachovia Bank, two restaurants, and other small retailers.

“The Brown Family of ShopRite Supermarkets are very excited to bring a new, beautiful, state-of-the-art ShopRite store to the Wynnefield/Parkside community,” stated Jeff Brown, owner. “We look forward to watching the community flourish and being a part of its success.”

Wachovia Bank provided significant expertise in financing this project through its New Market Tax Credit program. The New Markets Tax Credit program encourages investment in low-income urban and rural areas and it allows us to provide capital to projects that would not be possible at market rates. Wachovia will also open a new financial center as a part of this development.

“Wachovia is proud to play a role in a project that will transform this neighborhood”, said Ed Covington, Wachovia’s Market Manager for Community Development Finance. “I am also delighted that our expertise in the New Markets Tax Credit program can be put to good use to benefit the residents of West Philadelphia.”

The Goldenberg Group (“TGG”) Headquartered in Blue Bell, TGG owns and manages nearly 5 million square feet of space with an additional 2.5 million square feet in various stages of development. The members of TGG are adept at conceiving of and successfully developing large, complex real estate projects. Areas of concentration include: retail and “power” shopping centers, residential real estate, mixed-use “urban” projects, community revitalization projects, historic renovation and acquisitions for conversion. For more information, visit www.goldenberggroup.com.

West Philadelphia Financial Services Institution (“WPFSI”) Founded in December 1997, WPFSI is a community based, not-for-profit financial services organization dedicated to stimulating economic development in the West Philadelphia Empowerment Zone. WPFSI is dedicated to combating neighborhood deterioration, relieve economic stress and revitalize poverty stricken communities through the financing and advancement of economic development projects. WPFSI provides services such as loans and technical assistance to nurture established businesses and new entrepreneurs in West Philadelphia and to encourage businesses to relocate within the Empowerment Zone.