By Raven Payne
In July 2018, the city of Phoenix was awarded a $30 million choice neighborhoods grant from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development. The grant along with $190 million leverage is what is allowing the transformation of this community.
Housing Director, Cindy Stotler presented this housing development at a Phoenix city council meeting last week. “Located approximately one mile east of downtown, this community contains the largest concentration of public housing in the state of Arizona and suffered decades of disinvestment, crime, and blight,” Stotler said.
According to Stotler, at the end of the six-year grant, there will be 577 demolished units of “obsolete public housing” and 1,000 units of mixed-income, affordable and market-rate housing will be built back.
As of 2019, according to a report done by the Arizona Department of Housing, or ADOH, Arizona has a shortage of affordable rentals available to low-income households and the increase in population in the Phoenix-Metro area will continue to impact the cost of housing as demand still outstrips supply.
And to get more specific, there are 73% of extremely low-income renter households with severe cost burden in Arizona according to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition.
With these facts taken into consideration, this urban housing plan could mean great things for Phoenix.
The construction of four main areas in the Edison-East Lake community has already started. Plans for an Edison Impact Hub, Soluna, The Imperial, and Edison Activity Hub.
The Imperial will provide 140 new units of workforce housing that is being constructed using opportunity zone financing. And it will be completed in February 2021.
The Edison Impact Hub, which is an upcoming historic renovation from a “vacant blighted building” into a community and resident service center.
Soluna will be the first mixed-income neighborhood in East Lake. It will be four stories stretching along Roosevelt and have 177 units ranging from one to five bedrooms.
This is what Angela Duncan, Deputy Director had to say, “There are three buildings with framing complete, and the exterior is starting to be prepped for stucco. Windows are starting to be installed.”
The next phase of housing development, called Housing at the Park, will be completed in the second quarter of 2021. It will include 235 units going from one to five bedrooms and a linear park to improve walkability.
The Edison Activity Hub will be unveiled next month. Generated by residents, this hub will have three custom shade ramadas, green turf, and plenty of seating.
The Edison Impact Hub is set to bring the historically significant Crippled Children’s Hospital back to life. A design team is currently working on the restoration of the historical frontage and a complete remodel of the interior.
According to Duncan, engagement with the residents has been kept throughout the entire process of construction and relocation with 177 events and meetings and 4,375 residents in attendance.
Councilman Garcia of District 8 had this to say on his thoughts of the project,
“Obviously I am supportive of this and I’m excited to see the new construction and everything that’s happening…super proud that it’s in district 8 and that we will be able to do all of these wonderful things.”