City officials joined in as the DMH Fund and Penrose Properties broke ground on a low-income senior housing complex.
The six story apartment building will be on South 13th Street.
It's a $19.5 million venture that will be friendly to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.
The building, with a 5,000 square foot enclosed courtyard will include 56 one bedroom units.
A number of government officials were on hand for the start of the project, among them Congressman Bob Brady, former Philadelphia Mayor John Street and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.
"America, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia do best when we're all in it together. When we're one community, one people, respect each other's differences and actually cherish those differences," said Rendell.
Mayor Michael Nutter announced the name for the new building - the John C. Anderson Apartments. It comes in honor of the former gay Philadelphia city councilman that was instrumental in the passage of the City's civil rights bill.
Randy Wicker, organizer of the first ever gay rights march in the U.S., Ada Bello, who led the first gay and lesbian pickets at Independence Hall, and Jim Fouratt, founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, were all in attendance.
"I was amazed to see the elected officials, particularly of color who were not afraid to stand up and say we are your family too" said Fouratt.
Several attendees left their signatures on a plaque which will become a fixture in the new apartment building.