The Beury Building on North Broad Street is being redeveloped into a mixed-use building with hotel and restaurant (Shift Capital)

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Plans are moving forward with redevelopment of the Beury Building, the 14-story tower at Broad and Erie that’s being transformed into a mixed-use development and hotel.

Property owner Shift Capital and the Wankawala Organization, an NJ-based hotel company that manages several Marriott and other brands around the region, have come to terms with a coalition of neighborhood groups on a community benefits agreement for the project, which is targeting completion in October 2024.

The CBA includes commitments on hiring a certain percentage of women and people of color, as well as a jobs coordinator who’ll help neighborhood residents apply for open positions.

It also includes a promise to provide general job training and apprenticeship initiatives, with the goal to increase the economic well-being of the entire area. Shift and neighborhood partners in 2021 signed a similar CBA for the soon-to-be apartment complex next door to the tower.

Together, the developments are a rare example of a comprehensive package of community guarantees for multifaceted projects being built side-by-side.

“These partnership agreements create a full block of neighborhood equitable development with a focus on local hiring and employment initiatives vital to the community,” Alex Robles of Voyage Investments, one of Shift Capital’s first “developers-in-residence,” said in a statement

Long vacant, the Beury Building is the former home of the National Bank of North Philadelphia. It’s perhaps best known to those outside the neighborhood as home to the infamous “Boner 4ever” graffiti tags, which appeared in 2008. Shift bought the property in 2012, and has been working on redevelopment ever since.

The bustling intersection at the the heart of North Philadelphia’s downtown is home to one of the city’s busiest transit hubs — SEPTA’s Erie Station — and dozens of shops and restaurants, including Max’s Steaks.

But the neighborhoods around it have experienced hard times. The unemployment rate in Hunting Park, to the east of Broad, was 14.7% in 2021, markedly higher than Philly’s overall rate of 8.9%. The median income is around $27k (versus around $53k for the city at large). Meanwhile in Nicetown-Tioga, to the west of Broad, median income is around $21k, up from a low point of around $18k last decade.

Now revitalization is sweeping through. In addition to the two Shift Capital projects, Butler Triangle is getting a revamp.

Also known as Fish Park, the segment where Broad Street meets Erie and Germantown avenues recently got a refresh with new greening and benches, and there are other pedestrian safety and accessibility measures planned.

Shift Capital has shared details on the hotel planned for the Beury site: It’ll have 172 guest rooms, a ground-level and rooftop restaurant, a fitness center, and meeting spaces. Use of that meeting space by neighborhood groups — at least once a month, without fees, per Shift spokesperson Michael Matera — is one of the items in the new community benefits agreement.

Other terms of the Beury Building CBA, according to Shift Capital, include:

  • Hiring 20% local certified Minority Business Enterprises and 10% local Women Business Enterprises for the construction of the hotel
  • Hiring at least 25% MBEs for permanent jobs
  • Employing a jobs coordinator who will work with community organizations to refer local applicants to open positions, job fairs, and postings
  • Assembling job training and apprenticeship initiatives for neighborhood residents.
  • Consistent safety and security measures around the site.
  • Participation in neighborhood cleanups.

The agreement, like the CBA for the adjacent apartment complex, includes specifics on local hiring by prioritizing residents of Nicetown-Tioga, Hunting Park, and Franklinville, with residents of Kensington, Norris Square, Strawberry Mansion, Germantown, and Feltonville being second priority.

The twin CBAs are an example of what Shift calls “social impact development,” a term that denotes a sense of accountability and set of increasingly prominent development strategies for firms seeking profit in disadvantaged areas.

Construction on the site is projected to commence in May, Shift spokesperson Matera told Billy Penn.

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Jordan Levy is a general assignment reporter at Billy Penn, always aiming to help Philadelphians share their stories. Formerly, he has worked at Document Journal, n+1 Magazine, and The New Republic. He...