The Nugent Senior Apartments Receives State Funding

-Germantown Newspapers, April 26, 2012, p. 11

The Nugent Senior Apartments located at 221 West Johnson Street has been selected by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency for the construction of affordable senior housing. The proposal by Nolen Properties provides for the renovation of the historic 1895 “Nugent Home for Baptists” into 57 senior apartments and includes a new addition
on the rear of the building.

Once described as the “Most Endangered Historic Building in the City” by the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, the building’s grand “Chateauesque” design is an outstanding work of Philadelphia architect J. Franklin Stuckert. It was built by philanthropist George Nugent and constructed solely for the care of elderly Baptist Ministers and their wives. The Nugent building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. Nolen Properties acquired the building in 2006 after the previous owner failed in its attempt to secure demolition permits. In 2011, Nolen Properties completed construction of the adjacent Presser Senior Apartments at 101 West Johnson Street, a similar conversion of a historic building into 45 affordable senior apartments. All 45 Presser Apartments were leased in three months. The Presser Senior Apartments is the 2011 winner of the Grand Jury Award for Historic Preservation from the Preservation Alliance as well as the Pennsylvania Multi-Family Historic Preservation Award from Preservation Pennsylvania.

Nolen Properties principal Jim Nolen was extremely pleased to have been selected in the very competitive PHFA bidding process: “We are delighted to be able to restore this magnificent structure to its original glory while providing for the housing needs of our older neighbors in the Germantown and Mt. Airy neighborhoods.” Nolen has retained the architectural firm JKR Partners to complete the architectural design and David Plante, PE, a Germantown resident and principal of Ritter & Plante Associates, as the
Nugent site engineer.

The City of Philadelphia Office of Housing and Community Development has also expressed the support of the Nugent Senior Apartments in the form of a $2.6 million affordable housing loan. The Nugent Senior Apartments has received final approval from
the Philadelphia Historical Commission.

Editor’s note: This magnificent West Johnson Street property, and the adjacent Presser Senior Home, survived a typical Philadelphia government underground move to demolish them as a political favor for insiders close to senior elected leadership. Were it not for the prompt actions of a small neighborhood organization (PCCC) and the recruitment of two others (WMAN and WCGN) in support of having them properly designated historical, they would have fallen and would not be serving the valuable civic purpose of senior housing. They were only a week away from a secretly drafted demolition permit when the
city was stopped.