AVE Navy Yard - Once Again, Breaking New Ground

Korman Communities and Ensemble/Mosaic broke ground on a 614-unit residential project on October 24, 2023, becoming the first private residences to be built at the Navy Yard, a new neighborhood in Philadelphia destined to become one of the most unique, vibrant, and inclusive communities along six miles of Delaware River waterfront. The two-building sustainably designed complex is scheduled to welcome its first residents in 2025

AVE Navy Yard, a mixed-use community development project several years in the making, will feature a variety of amenity-rich residential options, intertwined with retail spaces, including luxury, market rate and affordable apartments, both furnished and unfurnished.

In the words of Bradley Korman, co-CEO of Korman Communities, the AVE Navy Yard will “raise the bar for urban living with a suburban feel at a location that is unlike anything else in the city of Philadelphia. We’re creating something special, a residential experience that will appeal to everyone. From penthouses to studio apartments, the new residences are aimed at attracting individuals and families from all walks of life, who will share in the resort-style amenities, swimming pool, outdoor kitchens, game room, movie theater, pet spa, music studio, library, fitness center, and more. This is going to be the most incredible apartment community that Philadelphia has ever seen.”
Since its conception, the goal for the new Navy Yard neighborhood has been to create a place that is representative of all Philadelphia, that is welcoming, inclusive, and diverse, a place for all people to live, work, and play. It’s a philosophy that truly befits the City of Brotherly Love.

A Friendly Neighborhood to Live, Work, Learn, and Thrive

AVE Navy Yard is a natural continuation of the Philadelphia Naval Yard’s ongoing transformation. Today, the 1,200-acre Naval Yard boasts 150 businesses and 15,000 workers, a feat achieved through more than two decades of Philadelphia community development and planning measures. Overseen by the PIDC, the city’s public-private economic development corporation, the Naval Yard is on a trajectory to become a self-sustaining ecosystem where people can work, live, shop, recharge, and flourish.

At the October 24 groundbreaking ceremonies for AVE Navy Yard, the true magnitude of the collaborative project was in full view. Representatives from all the entities involved were present and eager to “dig in,” literally, shovels in hand. In addition to Korman Communities, representatives from Ensemble/Mosaic, PDIC, and Basis Investment Group were all on hand.

“Today a new neighborhood begins to rise in the city of Philadelphia,” said Greg Reaves, Co-Founder and CEO of Mosaic. AVE Navy Yard marks the start of the Navy Yard’s transformation from a successful employment center to a vibrant mixed-used community and continues its trajectory as the most successful redevelopment of a former military base in the nation.”  Adding to Reaves’ comments, Kate McNamara, PIDC’s Senior Vice President, explained that the creation of a “true live, work, stay, and play community” is the exciting realization of a vision coming to full fruition.

What can residents expect when the AVE Navy Yard opens in 2025?  To start, they’ll be introduced to a combination of luxury, market-rate, and affordable apartments across two buildings situated on the Olin-designed Chapel Plaza, a 35,000 square foot public space. Befitting Korman tradition, AVE Navy Yard’s will offer 75,000 square feet of private indoor and outdoor amenity spaces.  The living space will include flexible-stay furnished apartments with bespoke features and accommodations, as well as traditional, long-term apartment leases.

Outside of the residential spaces, AVE Navy Yard will offer the community 25,000 square feet of retailers, as well as outdoor dining, lounge seating, and performance areas within the sprawling Chapel Plaza. AVE Navy Yard buildings, developed with a specific focus on health and wellness, are directly adjacent to three public parks totaling 15 acres of green space.

DEI Success on a Multimillion-Dollar Scale

AVE Navy Yard project furthers Ensemble/Mosaic’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). AVE Navy Yard has pledged to include 92 deed-restricted affordable and workforce housing units. That way, the neighborhood can flourish as a tapestry of residents where inclusivity is promoted on every level.

The thoughtful attentiveness to DEI has even expanded to the developers involved. Mosaic is well-known as a minority business enterprise (MBE). And the minority- and women-owned Basis Investment Group led all the AVE Navy Yard residential equity financing. Plus, nearly half of the neighborhood’s design and engineering has been powered by minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE), and nearly half of the construction spend will be allocated to MWBE contractors.

Upon opening, the DEI efforts will continue. A full 25% of the retail spaces contributing to AVE Navy Yard will be reserved for businesses led by minorities or women. Additionally, as more opportunities for inclusion arise, they’ll be folded into the project. Perhaps no one summed up the drive to weave DEI throughout the experience than Brian Cohen, Ensemble’s Managing Director: “We must be intentional in our approach to ensure that AVE Navy Yard is sustainable and representative of all Philadelphians.”

A History of Breaking New Ground

Pioneering new projects is not new to Korman Communities. The Korman companies are a legacy of builders and innovators since the early 1900s. All along Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philadelphia, Korman has built thousands of single-family homes, row homes, apartment communities, and was instrumental in developing new neighborhoods on Castor Avenue, Martin’s Mill Road, and Oxford Circle, supporting the growing legions of shopkeepers, workers, teachers, and professionals in an expanding Philadelphia.  Korman’s Leiper Street Apartment project in the 1930s became the prototype for the popular garden style apartment community. In the 1960s Korman grew as a major developer of planned communities in Philadelphia and the suburbs, eventually building Neshaminy Interplex and the Neshaminy Mall, at the time the largest single-story indoor mall in the area. The legacy of innovation continued with Korman Suites, the first furnished suites in Philadelphia in 1966.  Korman Communities, now in its third decade as a unique company, fosters this entrepreneurial spirit with AVE residences and the luxury Hotel AKA brand.

AVE Navy Yard: Philadelphia’s Next Emerging Neighborhood

There’s a reason that Philadelphia resonates with people around the world, even landing on a recent listing as one of the world’s best cities. The charm of the city and its notable neighborhoods draws travelers and career-seekers daily. With the rise of AVE Navy Yard, Philadelphia can add one more accolade.

It takes a team to create a village, especially one built on inspiration, innovation, and possibilities. At Korman Communities, we feel privileged to be a partner in what will surely become one of the next great Philadelphia landmarks.

Jeff Brown, AVE’s Director of Development, said it best, “AVE Navy Yard is really at the crossroads of where everyone wants to be . . . We're creating a destination and setting a tone for what housing should be like in the Navy Yard, something that's new, something that's different and really next generation thinking.”

AVE Navy Yard Team Groundbreaking with shovels and cityscape in background
Left to Right: Scott Relick, Emily Haynes, Sam Korman, Jackson Korman, Brad Korman, Steve Korman, Lea Anne Welsh, Mark Korman, Jeff Brown, Paul DeFruscio, Kelly Betley, Lynne Edwards, Rob Grossman
Korman family stands for photograph at AVE Navy Yard Team groundbreaking
Left to Right: Sam Korman, Jackson Korman, Brad Korman, Steve Korman, Mark Korman
Digital rendering of future site of AVE Navy Yard
Rendering of Chapel Block North Entrance
Digital rendering of Chapel Block on future site of AVE Navy Yard
Rendering of Chapel Block, Aerial View