The South Camden Historic District is the only important residential neighborhood in the entire section of Camden south of Atlantic Avenue and west of I-676. The city calls the area “Waterfront South.”
The historic district, which is centered on the intersection of South Broadway and Ferry Street, consisted of more than 800 19th and early 20th-century housing units, mostly row houses when it was listed in the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places in 1990. It also included some closed factories and commercial properties, and Sacred Heart Church.
While few have seen hope for this neighborhood, two organizations, the Heart of Camden and Jersey Counseling and Housing Development, have been breathing life into its housing stock. Together they have rehabilitated rough one-quarter of the units.
But the City, together with the South Jersey Port Corporation, wants to convert Waterfront South to industrial use. A block-long strip of rowhouses on Arlington Street west of South Broadway has already been demolished, and the city planner recently announced plans to demolish roughly the half of the district that lies east of South Broadway.
The State has promised some funding for rehabilitation of affordable housing in South Camden as part of its major investment in the redevelopment of Camden. But so far no money has been delivered. A state historic rehabilitation tax credit would also be of tremendous help to this neighborhood. The longer rehabilitation is delayed, the more vulnerable the neighborhood becomes. PNJ sees no reason why this residential neighborhood that played an important part in Camden’s past should not be part of its future.