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For $34 Million, Two Montgomery County Affordable Housing Sites Get Full Makeovers

NBC 10 August 27, 2016

Two of Montgomery County's seven affordable housing complexes are in the midst of complete makeovers, with construction at Crest Manor in Willow Grove already underway and work at North Hills in Glenside slated to begin next year.

For roughly $17 million each, the 50-unit North Hills and the 40-unit Crest Manor -- built in the 1950s and 1960s, respectively -- are getting complete upgrades.

At Crest Manor, where construction began in June, the frames of the existing twin-style houses are all that will remain. The interior and exterior of each house is being torn down and rebuilt. Completion is expected by the end of 2017. At North Hills, the attached low-rise housing units will be torn down and rebuilt in phases. Construction there is expected to begin sometime next year.

Both housing complexes are in dire need of makeovers, Montgomery County Housing Authority executive director Joel Johnson said in an interview Friday.

"Both sites were very obsolete on many levels," Johnson said. "That's what led us to this larger campaign."

The expensive overhauls are the largest projects for the housing agency since the redevelopment of the MCHA's other "general occupancy" development, Bright Hope in Pottstown, in the 1990s.

The amount of county taxpayer dollars going to the projects is about $1 million of the $34 million. One of the region's largest affordable housing developers, Pennrose Properties, was chosen through a public bidding process to handle both projects, Johnson said.

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