Edison Square rendering

PHILADELPHIA-Mosaic Development Partners and Orens Brothers Real Estate have completed financing for Edison Square, and will begin transformation of the former Edison High School into a community shopping center and housing development. 

The long-awaited redevelopment of the school, which has been empty and blighted for a decade, will begin with construction of the 37,000-square-foot shopping center. The $12.8-million first phase is to be anchored by a Save-A-Lot with expanded fresh produce and meat stations. Discount store Family Dollar, Burger King and Kicks will also be tenants at the shopping center. Construction is expected to take up to 18 months, according to Mosaic and Orens Brothers.

“We are thrilled to have gotten the necessary funding for this project,” said Scott Orens of Orens Brothers. “This is one of the most complicated financial structures, especially for a project this size. “It represents a unique approach to investing in a community, while developing a first-class project that will benefit the neighborhood for over the long-term.”

The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) provided a leveraged loan of nearly $3.9 million for the project. Wells Fargo Bank and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation provided New Market Tax Credits and Wells Fargo is the investor for those credits.  Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development provided a $1.55 million Business In Our Sites loan and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development provided $3 million in BEDI and HUD 108 grants and loans.

“We are gratified to have the full support of the federal government, the Commonwealth, and the City to bring this project to fruition,” said Greg Reaves, a principal of Mosaic. He mentioned that Councilwoman Sanchez and PIDC were especially crucial to the effort.

The project will create 100 construction jobs and an estimated 70 full-time jobs once all the stores in the shopping center are operating. Most of the full-time jobs are expected to be filled by local residents.

Reaves said the development “means jobs, removal of significant blight, and more convenient shopping options for residents.”  

Orens, a family-owned development and construction business, and Mosaic, a four-year-old Mid-Atlantic region developer, purchased the property from the Philadelphia School District in June 2011.