Norris Homes is a $120 million development by Jonathan Rose Companies in coordination with the Philadelphia Housing Authority. WRT’s involvement, which spans both planning and design, started with a planning process that became the focus of a successful $30 million HUD Choice Neighborhoods implementation grant for the project.
The program focused on implementing a comprehensive approach to revitalization that linked new and rehabilitated housing with well-functioning services, schools, public assets, transportation, and access to jobs. The centerpiece included redevelopment of the distressed and outdated Norris low-rise public housing development. WRT worked with Norris Homes residents and community stakeholders to identify housing and neighborhood priorities and then used that input to test and design a housing and neighborhood plan that met HUD program requirements.
The community’s vision for high-quality housing, included:
- meeting the diverse needs of its existing resident base.
- expanding the range and quality of energy-efficient and sustainable housing options
- hitting a critical mass by developing vacant parcels, while also promoting the preservation and protection of affordable housing units for long-time neighborhood residents; and
- providing a range of mixed income housing options to serve the neighborhoods increasingly diverse population.
The connection with nature played a major role in the design of the landscape and the materiality of the buildings at Norris Homes.
Green space amenities include a community garden, creative play areas, and flexible outdoor seating.The homes also feature many green elements. They were designed to achieve a high energy efficiency rating on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index, in addition to all the mandatory and 35 additional points on the Enterprise Green Communities 2015 checklist. The Enterprise Green Communities designation requires that the building also meets Energy Star 3.0 standards. This includes features such as: Energy Star appliances, high-efficiency HVAC equipment, low VOC paint and finishes, energy efficient lighting, daylight or occupancy sensors on all common area light fixtures, water conserving plumbing fixtures, and a high-performance building envelope, among other green elements.
The new building has an onsite management office, social service office, bicycle storage rooms with 52 spaces, lounge, fitness center, common area laundry rooms in the mid-rise building and a community room. A future retail tenant space is also located within the building.