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PHILADELPHIA-Shareholders of locally based Progress Investment Associates have approved redevelopment of Progress Plaza Shopping Center. Located on four acres at Broad and Oxford Streets in Philadelphia, near the Temple University campus, it was originally developed in 1968 under the late Rev. Leon H. Sullivan’s “10-36 Plan.”

Under the plan, members of Sullivan’s Zion Baptist Church and others in the community invested $10 a month for 36 months to finance the project and become PIA shareholders. Today, there are 4,000 PIA shareholders, Alvin Tucker, PIA treasurer, tells GlobeSt.com.

Current occupancy at the 66,000-sf center is 75%, according to Tucker. It has lost its grocery anchor and become run down in recent years.

“Final plans for the expansion are not firm, but we know it will represent at least a 25% increase in space. We also contemplate further development of retail, office and, potentially, residential multifamily housing at the site,” he says.

“Several grant applications are in process and we have established relationships with a consortium of area banks,” Tucker tells GlobeSt.com. “We’re certain of initial funding of between $13 million and $15 million. We’re aggressively pursuing a supermarket anchor and are in talks with several major grocery chains. We expect to sign one within a month or so.”

Groundbreaking is scheduled to begin next year. In a statement, Wendell R. Whitlock, PIA’s board chairman, says Kravco was chosen as co-developer with PIA “because of its extensive experience in redeveloping urban areas.”

Adds Lewis Gantman, Kravco president, “The Progress Plaza project will show the power of commercial real estate development as a catalyst for community development and economic empowerment.”

Tucker says the center “will be redeveloped with significant minority participation and employment opportunities in terms of ownership, design and construction contracts.

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