HACE, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) community development organization, was started in 1982 to respond to the need for economic empowerment in the Latino community. In fact, HACE was organized, in part, to prevent the impending closing of a central shopping mall in the heart of the Latino Commercial District in Eastern North Philadelphia, known as El Centro de Oro (the Golden Center). HACE used the successful redevelopment of the mall as the starting point to demonstrate to the community that they could take charge of their economic destiny. Since then, HACE has evolved into a productive and effective developer of both residential and commercial real estate as well as an advocate on behalf of the neighborhood residents and small businesses.
HACE’s primary target area is the heart of Philadelphia’s Latino community. Geographically, this area extends from Lehigh Avenue in the south to the AMTRAK rail line to the north, and from 6th Street to the west to B Street in the east. During the early 1900s this area was the center of manufacturing activity in the City of Philadelphia. The typical land use pattern of the area was driven by the construction of factories along railroads. Residences for factory workers were built in the immediate areas surrounding the factories. Commercial strips on major streets were developed to serve the nearby residents. The decline of manufacturing activity in the City of Philadelphia resulted in the abandonment of large numbers of factories, loss of jobs and population, and the businesses that served them.
Because so much of HACE’s history has been working against the trend of disinvestment, our leaders have always understood the need to develop a comprehensive strategy through community-wide planning that defines tangible projects and programs into manageable geographical boundaries that supports the commercial corridor. Our neighborhood plan guides and focuses the organization on what we do best: encouraging homeownership, working with corridor businesses, “bricks and mortar” development, and delivery of social services to our residents.