The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the LGBT-friendly senior complex, 249-257 S. 13th St., is slated for 10:30 a.m. Feb. 24 in front of the building. Seating will be reserved for invited guests only, but there will be a roped area for spectators.
Residents of the building, who have been moving in since the beginning of the month, will be in attendance. Joining the festivities will be former Gov. Ed Rendell, Mayor Michael Nutter, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and the Philadelphia Congressional delegation, state Treasurer Rob McCord, a state House delegation led by Rep. Mike O’Brien, a state Senate delegation led by Sen. Anthony Williams and a host of City Councilmembers led by Councilman Mark Squilla.
Also on hand will be a group of early LGBT-rights activists.
“We’ll be making announcements of other speakers in the next couple of weeks, but we’re very excited that we’re going to have a lot of pioneers of the gay-rights struggle in attendance,” said PGN publisher Mark Segal, president of the Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Fund, which spearheaded the project with Pennrose Properties. “This will probably be the largest collection of LGBT pioneers at one event in many, many years.”
The 56-unit facility is only the nation’s third affordable LGBT-friendly senior-housing building, and the only one that is funded fully by government funding and tax credits. It is the nation’s largest-ever LGBT building project.
Ground was broken in late 2012 for the facility, and up to 200 construction workers were on site each day last year building the six-story complex.
Most residents will have moved in by ribbon-cutting, Segal said, and the final five will move in in March.
Segal said organizers will announce at the ceremony that the project hit each of its demographic goals.
“The building is a diversified rainbow, which we are thrilled with,” he said.
About 90 percent of the building’s residents identify as LGBT, Segal said. Residents include several veterans, transgender people and diversity among gender and race.
The dmhFund hosted a reception Sunday for the building’s new residents in its Community Room, which will be open for use by local organizations.
Segal said he has been “amazed” by the level of community support for JCAA.
“I’ve never seen a more unified effort in my 44 years in this community,” he said. “It has been overwhelming to watch the organizations who have jumped in to help do this work. William Way, Mazzoni Center, ActionAIDS, Philadelphia Corporation on Aging all jumped in and will be doing services from the day we open this building.”
Pennrose Properties president Mark Dambly said the project has been a “fantastic opportunity for Pennrose to continue our strong history of partnering with nonprofit organizations. To develop one of the nation’s first LGBT-friendly apartment communities only emphasizes our record of diversity for the customers we serve,” he said.
Segal joked that he has begun a countdown to a vacation he is planning now that the years-long project is wrapping up.
“It has probably been the most laborious project of my life,” he said. “But also the most rewarding.”