Kenny Gamble’s big project on hole-d

Universal Companies "development" at 15th and Webster streetsThe sign on the construction fence at the lot at 15th and Webster streets in Graduate Hospital simply says, “Another development by Universal Companies.”

That sign is a little misleading, for the project on this site isn’t just “another development by Universal Companies.” Kenny Gamble’s community-development company, which has built affordable housing in G-Ho and Point Breeze, runs charter schools and provides a number of services to lower-income residents of South Philly’s northern precincts, is working here on a development of a different sort: Gamble’s own home.

Progress on this project has come to a halt lately, however. That’s because Gamble and his wife Fatima are in search of a contractor to build the home, according to Iyana Hart, an agent with Coldwell Banker Preferred Old City who knows the Gambles well.

Some time after the Gambles broke ground on their new home, Hart said, they changed their minds about how big it should be, downsizing their expectations to somewhere around 4,000 square feet. This is also leading them to reconsider the design of the house, which is also back up in the air.

As of last week, Hart said, the Gambles were still soliciting bids for the construction project. There’s no date certain as to when construction will resume.

At least say this much for the legendary record producer and co-creator of “The Sound of Philadelphia”: He isn’t contributing to increasing economic segregation – he’s keeping it in the ‘hood.

-By Sandy Smith for

Photo by the author