Esperanza’s original mission when it was founded in 1987 was to confront poverty, disinvestment, blight, and lack of economic opportunity in the Hunting Park neighborhood of Philadelphia, through affordable housing and economic solutions.
Since then, Esperanza has invested significant time and energy building assets through residential and commercial real estate development.
Throughout the 1990’s, we built:
- 36 new townhomes on what had been vacant lots;
- 5 apartments for senior citizens;
- A community laundromat, requested by neighborhood residents via a feedback survey.
To this day, we continue to purchase residential properties that become available in our neighborhood, and rehab them either for rent or sale. To date, we have rehabbed and rented or sold over 100 homes in the community.
In 1999, we acquired and began building out our campus.
We now own a 9-acre parcel that is home to our headquarters, Esperanza College, Esperanza Academy, and many other programs. By 2010, half of the available 300,000 square feet of space had been renovated, for an investment of over $15 million into the community. The institutions and programs housed in these facilities employ nearly 250 people, and we are continuing to develop and expand them.
In 2007, we purchased land and built a facility to house a Rite Aid pharmacy on a 2.2 acre, previously-vacant lot on North 5th St., investing a total of $3.5 million in development costs. The Rite Aid represented the first national employer in the area, and they still lease the facility from us.
In 2010, we purchased a 60,000 square foot property at 199 Hunting Park Ave, and a smaller storefront on our main business corridor, both of which had been previously owned by local churches. We are currently renovating the facility for our use by our programs.
This year, we’ll enter the next phase of our campus development, adding a middle school facility, gymnasium, and auditorium for the performing arts.
We will also begin development of a former public school building that has been unused for many years. The space will become a mixed-use residential and commercial area with low-income apartments and retail companies.