From blighted to blooming

Soon after I returned from Indonesia last year, I took a job with New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC). One of NKCDC's biggest projects this year is Orinoka Civic House, a $17.8 million overhaul of the abandoned Orinoka Mills factory in Kensington.

“The Orinoka Mills building was the biggest, baddest, ugliest thing going," NKCDC's former executive director, Sandy Salzman, told  Generocity in 2016. "We worked really, really hard with lots and lots of people from the Redevelopment Authority and the Office of Housing and Community Development and Councilman [Mark] Squilla and Councilwoman [Maria Quiñones] Sánchez, the Commerce Department—all these city agencies, to try to get this building. … And then of course, we had to raise the money to renovate it.”

Residents are currently moving into 51 affordable one and two bedroom apartments. The building will also contain community space, a small storefront, and NKCDC's new offices. PlanPhilly organized this tour of the space in April 2017.