Southwest Center City (SWCC) is a neighborhood in South Philadelphia bordering Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The neighborhood is bordered on the north by South Street, on the south by Washington Avenue, on the west by the Schuylkill River, and by Broad Street on the east. It is an area adjacent to the Fitler Square and Rittenhouse Square neighborhoods to the North and Point Breeze to the South. It is home to several community service organizations, many churches, a few retail establishments, and some light industry. The neighborhood has many nicknames. Since the 1980s, it has been often referred to as Graduate Hospital, after the medical facility on the northern edge of the neighborhood. This name has become merely historical in nature since the hospital closed in 2007. Despite this, it is still used and is sometimes shortened to G-Ho. The area is also variously referred to as South of South, SoSo, Naval Square, or Schuylkill-Southwest. A small corner of this area is sometimes known as Devil’s Pocket.
In recent years the area has experienced growth and gentrification. Hundreds of single family homes and condominium units have been built or refurbished. As a result of the neighborhood’s proximity to Center City and increasing desirability, a variety of new businesses catering to the increasingly gentrified population have opened. Despite the improvements, the neighborhood still contains some abandoned and dilapidated housing, especially towards the south.
The Grammy Award winning musician and local resident Kenneth Gamble founded Universal Companies in Southwest Center City to revitalize the neighborhood. Universal Community Homes, a division of the company, began the Universal Court housing project in the neighborhood in the 1990s. Originally, some tension existed between the company and the local South of South Neighborhood Association, but this was soon resolved as the project was deemed a success. Universal Companies has since opened several small neighborhood businesses, low-income housing, and a charter school.