Philadelphia–The adaptive reuse redevelopment of part of the former Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania into new student housing at Philadelphia University has been completed. According to developer Iron Stone Realty, the 131-unit project was finished within budget and about 30 days ahead of schedule, in time for the upcoming school year.
The first wave of students will move in on Aug. 15, after which the residences will be 95 percent occupied for the first year. For the 2012-13 school year, they will be fully occupied, providing housing for about 370 Philadelphia University upperclassmen. The residences total more than 145,000 square feet and include new studio space, laundry facilities, a lecture hall and other amenities, all built within the restored exterior of the late 1920s-vintage structure.
The student housing is the latest part of Falls Center, a larger redevelopment of the former college–the first medical school in the country for women–by Iron Stone. The private investment fund, based in Roxborough, Pa., originally bought the property in 2006 for $11 million and has completed office and apartments on the site.
Plans for the student housing were only finalized in Sept. 2010, so speed was of the essence for the project. According to William Bostic, CEO of Axis Construction Management, which undertook building the project, the job was done through “intelligent design and engineering alternatives.”
“The overall interior design scheme went from something that was bordering on ultramodern to a more industrial-loft feel, allowing us to utilize certain existing historic and sometimes rough-looking components in lieu of new construction,” Bostic tells MHN. “The end result was a blend of the two and is certainly different from the initial plans. That said, we still maintained the developer’s conceptual intent.”
Bostic adds that the adaptive reuse included incorporating “favorable layouts and physical positioning of the actual residences, relative to the existing plumbing and other mechanical/electrical vertical stacks. It also included an alternate primary power scheme that utilized some of the former hospital’s existing primary electrical systems while incorporating modern methods for metering of utility consumption.”