TLC Construction, led by President/CEO Tarik Casteel, broke ground on The Cornerstone, a new 100% affordable housing unit to be located at 15th & Walnut Streets.

HARRISBURG — After more than three years of struggles to start construction, a fully affordable housing project was able to break ground in Allison Hill this week.

The Cornerstone, a project by TLC Construction, began construction at the corner of 15th and Walnut Streets. It is expected to have 50 units of entirely affordable housing, in an area of the city which needs housing availability the most.

The project is being led by TLC Construction President & CEO Tarik Casteel, a 1991 Harrisburg High School graduate, who, after graduating Cheyney University, got into trouble back home and landed in prison for four years. When he got out, Tarik dedicated his life to construction and development. He started TLC Construction in 2008, and over the last 15 years, has not only developed multiple business and housing units in Harrisburg, but is using his platform to provide second chances to previously incarcerated individuals.

“This whole community has backed me, and will always back me. That’s why I do what I do,” Casteel said. “When you do community development, you should look like the community you’re serving. People in the community want to see someone helping them who looks like them, and I am that person.”

Casteel was joined at the groundbreaking Tuesday by numerous local dignitaries, including Mayor Wanda Williams, City Council President Danielle Bowers, State Representative Dave Madsen, and former CEO of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency Brian Hudson.

The Cornerstone will take up previously vacant and blighted lots in Allison Hill.

It initially came in front of City Council in May 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite its passage, the pandemic and other factors delayed its ground breaking until this week.

“We envisioned this project as an opportunity to not only change lives, but in many cases, to save them,” said Mayor Williams, who was Council President at the time. “When you can eliminate blight and replace it with something bright, you have the chance to lift up an entire neighborhood.”

Council President Bowers added, “To know the revitalization this community will receive and the affordability for our residents is coming directly from a home grown resident, I couldn’t be more proud.”