GUCDC news

Germantown United Community Development Corporation Wins Preservation Grant


Germantown wins $160,000 in grant funding from American Express.

PHILADELPHIA November 6, 2017 … To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s work to revitalize America’s Main Streets, the National Trust joined with American Express, National Geographic, and Main Street America for Partners in Preservation: Main Streets, a community-based campaign to raise awareness about the importance of preserving America’s Main Street districts.

The Open Doors in Germantown project, led by the Germantown United Community Development Corporation, finished in first place out of 25 main street districts in a nationwide popular voting competition from September 25 through October 31, and earned a $150,000 grant for historic preservation. Germantown also won an additional $10,000 grant for increasing its vote total by the highest percentage during a one-week voting challenge.

The 11 winning historic sites will receive a total of $1.5 million in grants to fund their respective preservation projects. An additional $500,000 in grants was provided to the nonprofit partners of the 25 main street communities that participated in the program at the outset of the campaign to help raise awareness about their preservation needs.

The Germantown United Community Development Corporation intends to use the funding to provide structural improvements to two buildings on Germantown Avenue’s business corridor: Parker Hall (5801 Germantown Ave) and John Trower’s building (5706 Germantown Ave), both significant 20th century African-American historic sites. Parker Hall was an integrated social hall that served as a USO-like facility during World War II for African American soldiers. The eponymous John Trower building was operated by a well-known businessman and philanthropist who was considered the wealthiest African-American in the U.S. Both buildings will continue their current uses. Today, Parker Hall contains the office of Dr. Althea Hankins, MD, and the ACES Museum, which pays tribute to multi-ethnic contributions to the U.S. Military in WWII. The museum hosts veterans groups from throughout the country. John Trower’s building is home to the Crab House restaurant, a popular local business

Restoring these facades will benefit these businesses, bolster the historic appeal of Germantown, and increase community pride by highlighting the contributions of African-Americans to the history and culture of this country, in an underserved African-American urban community.

Germantown United CDC’s mission is to promote and facilitate the revitalization of Germantown and it’s business corridors through a sustainable, creative and community driven approach to economic development. GUCDC believes that Germantown’s history and built environment are economic assets upon which to rebuild Germantown’s economy and create equitable economic development. After decades of decline, there are signs of improvement and vibrancy in Germantown.

Why Main Street Matters

According to 2016 data from Main Street America, investments in Main Street districts have a significant impact on local economies – encouraging real estate development as well as the creation of new businesses and jobs. In 2016, $4.65 billion reinvested in Main Street improvement programs resulted in 8,042 building rehabilitations, 5,616 business openings, and 27,462 new jobs.

Furthermore, according to a recent study from Morning Consult of 2,201 Americans commissioned by American Express, 79 percent of Americans say that preserving Main Street is important. Additionally, 79 percent of Americans say that the idea of Main Street is what makes America beautiful. Main Street is also seen as vital in connecting Americans to their local community – 82 percent of Americans say that Main Street is important to their ability to socialize with others in a community. A similar amount, 86 percent, say that Main Street is important to the well-being and the enjoyment of a community.

For more information and to vote daily for Germantown United CDC through October 31, visit and share the love via social media using #VoteYourMainStreet and #VoteGermantown.


About Germantown United Community Development Corporation

The mission of Germantown United Community Development Corporation (GUCDC) is to promote and facilitate the revitalization of Northwest Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood and its business corridors through a sustainable, creative, and community-driven approach to economic development. Learn more at

About Partners in Preservation

Partners in Preservation is a program in which American Express, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, awards preservation grants to historic places across the country.

Through this partnership, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation seek to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of historic preservation in the United States and to preserve America’s historic and cultural places. The program also hopes to inspire long-term support from local citizens for the historic places at the heart of their communities.

About American Express

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at, and connect with us on,,,, and

Key links to products, services and corporate responsibility information: charge and credit cards, business credit cards, Plenti rewards program, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, Accertify, corporate card, business travel, and corporate responsibility.

About the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places:

About Main Street America

Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC, a joint venture between National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox, combines National Geographic television channels with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic Studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, catalog, licensing and e-commerce businesses. A portion of the proceeds from National Geographic Partners LLC will be used to fund science, exploration, conservation and education through significant ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society. For more information, visit and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Big Announcement: GUCDC is Moving!

We at Germantown United CDC are thrilled to announce that we are moving into our first storefront office located at 5320 Germantown Ave, at the corner of W Penn Street. This space that has been vacant for nearly a year. We are looking forward to activating this corner and sharing this block of the Avenue with so many great Germantown businesses and attractions, including: Perfectly Flawless Boutique, Bargain Thrift, GrumblethorpeSandalwood Yoga, Gtown TeesCount On Me 123 Learning Center, Pizzeria Nonna, Trinity Lutheran Church, Tastie’s, Angie’s Dominican Power SalonPhiladelphia Spine AssociatesAround the Clock Home HealthcareHosley Temple CME, The Police Athletic League, Germantown Boys & Girls Club, Germantown Friends School, and more! Right now we’re busy moving boxes, putting together furniture, and getting settled. We’ll be hosting an Open House for the community in the fall. Date TBD. Stay tuned!

Goldtex, After The War

Article on Josh Guilbert of Post Brothers, and GU Board member, in Hidden City.

Coat of many colors: the metamorphosis of Goldtex | Photo: Bradley Maule

“We have a budget, and we’re sticking to it,” states product director Josh Guelbart. This matter-of-fact assessment underscores Post Brothers’ momentous progress after the September ceasefire in the infamous Goldtex trade union standoff. “Now we’re focused on getting our building done.”

Considering the attention that’s been paid the contentious project, reaching a point nearing completion has been no small feat. And yet, Goldtex is nearly ready to rent—and on budget. While the lobby and leasing office are still being finished, tours began last week for prospective lessees at the 163-unit apartment building.

Even in its mid-metamorphosis state, Goldtex is a benchmark in the transition of the neighborhood, call it Callowhill, or the Loft District, or Chinatown North, or Eraserhood. The former shoe factory, built in 1904, is undergoing an extreme makeover designed by KlingStubbins, whose extensive local legacy includes Penn Center, Independence Mall, and more recently, the USPS’ Mail Operation and Delivery Unit at 30th & Chestnut. It’s also worth noting that KlingStubbins is the architect of the mixed use tower proposed by Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation on just the other side of the Reading Viaduct from Goldtex.

In Germantown, Leadership Paralysis Endures

NOVEMBER 16, 2012 |  BY 

The Sav-a-Lot opened last December, but rather than dissolving, Germantown United used the attention and membership it had gained to try to shape commercial development in the neighborhood. The group began hosting public planning sessions, adopted the “CDC” moniker, and filed for non-profit status. It has spent the last several months strengthening its board, which, alongside business owners and employees of the neighborhood’s numerous historic sites, now includes a professor, an investment banker, a member of the city’s Commerce Department, and a project manager of Post Brothers Apartments.

(Read More Hidden Cities)

Andrew Trackman of Germantown United on Maplewood Mall | Photo: Theresa Stigale

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