In the last year the Tacony Community Development Corporation brought major improvements to Torresdale Ave in Tacony. Our momentum continues across all of our areas of focus: design, promotion, organization, economic vitality and clean and safe. We thank all of our partners, board members, business owners, and volunteers for their hard work this year.
Vacancy Reached a Historic Low- For the first time in many years there was just one storefront available for lease on Torresdale Ave. Nearly seven years ago our commercial vacancy rate was pushing 30%. We expect to see rental rates rise as demand for commercial space continues to grow. We were excited to welcome businesses like Ruby Beauty, Tacony Laundromat, and the Jason Lloyd Funeral Home to Torresdale Ave. We look forward to new businesses in the new year!
Funded an Expansion of Quality & Welcoming Dining Options- The Tacony CDC took the lead to expand quality dining options with the "Truly Tacony" Grant Program. This innovative recoverable grant program opened a competitive application process for existing food-based businesses to expand scope and quality. The CDC awarded three grants of $15,000 to Puddin's Cake Corner, Athenian Diner, and SawTown Tavern to expand the scope and quality of dining options available.
Continued Strength in Home Renovation and Sales- One of the brightest spots during the year was the continued strength in Tacony's Housing Market. Home prices appreciated nearly 12% over the year and are projected to grow 17% over the next year. Since 2014 Home Prices have increased nearly 40%. New investment and home renovations have substantially reduced the number of vacant and blighted homes. Average apartment rents also show market strength--since 2014 rents have grown by 15%.
Welcomed Catalytic Development Projects- Our waterfront saw its first major development in many years with the new MaST Tacony Campus. We look forward to welcoming new students in the coming year. The Tacony Post Office also welcomed a new owner and is in the planning stages of redevelopment of the building's upper floors. We look forward to continued renovation and investment in long-vacant buildings.
Deepened our Library Partnership- This year saw a number of joint programs and special events with the Tacony Branch of the Free Library. The CDC's strategic plan identifies opportunities to grow businesses and programs serving local families. Some joint programs included: Pop-up Indoor Mini Golf; the Zoo on Wheels; the AIDS Quilt; the Back to School Block Party; Tacony Halloween Celebration; and Winterfest. These programs brought families to Torresdale Ave in addition to the Tacony Library. When added together, these joint programs welcomed more than 7,000 people. We look forward to continued partnership with the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Continued Our "Clean and Safe" Efforts- We continue to provide cleaning along Torresdale Ave and portions of Longshore & Princeton Avenues with Ready Willing & Able. Our "Men in Blue" collected more than 2,080 bags of trash and litter. In addition, we installed cameras in partnership with selected businesses along both Torresdale and Longshore Avenues. In partnership with the Philadelphia Police our Bicycle Police regularly patrolled Torresdale Ave.
Highlighted Our Businesses- Our businesses took center stage with our "Truly Tacony" promotional campaign. We highlighted a number of both new and veteran small businesses along Torresdale Ave. This culminated in our "Small Business Saturday" promotional event encouraging people to shop locally here in Tacony.
Strengthened Our Business Owners- We look forward to our continued partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Commerce. We hosted a number of workshops for business owners and entrepreneurs including a Storefront Improvement & Security Camera Grant Symposium. We look forward to work with the Department of Commerce in the coming year.
Expanded Our Board- We welcomed new board member Wanda Novales to the CDC Board. We also completed a special board training to help cultivate new ideas and opportunities for our organization to grow.
We look forward to a very productive 2019 as we continue to improve Torresdale Ave in Tacony.