The Behavioral Wellness Center at Girard takes up the city block surrounded by Franklin Street, Thompson Street, 9th Street, and Girard Avenue, and has a very interesting history as a medical facility. The property was originally operated as Philadelphia Children’s Homeopathic Hospital, which was later renamed St. Luke’s and Children’s Medical Center. This facility has offered treatment for alcoholism and drug addiction, along with other behavioral health services, for many decades. As we’ve discussed on numerous occasions, the property has more recently been known as the Girard Medical Center, but its owner and operator, North Philadelphia Health System, declared bankruptcy in 2017 and Ironstone Real Estate Partners took over the property via auction.

Ironstone has a focus on development, but still has a presence as a player in the medical world, and so the medical operations and residential housing programs have continued at this location. That being said, Ironstone is still in the business of making money for its investors, and we were not at all surprised to learn that they are pursuing a new project at this site, on a currently vacant portion of the property. The address of said development is 801 W. Girard Ave., but it’s more accurately located at the southwest corner of Franklin & Thompson.

Current view

This project is coming to Civic Design Review next month, so we have a bunch of pertinent details to share. The new building will rise six stories and will include 80 apartments and 19 parking spaces. The apartments will be on the upper floors of the building, while the first floor will be all parking, aside from a small lobby space. PZS Architects did the design work for the project and the CDR packet includes a bunch of renderings, per usual.

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Project rendering
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A couple other views
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Aerial view of the rendering against other buildings nearby

We have visited this intersection a few other times previously, most recently back in January when we showed you a new apartment building under construction on the southeast corner. A little farther back, we told you about a two-phase affordable development from Project HOME, which will combine for 70 units over two phases. The second phase of that project is currently under construction.

Looking east on Thompson St.
Looking west on Thompson St.

These projects, and others nearby, show that there are different types of projects that make sense in this area. At first glance, we suspected that this new apartment building would be affordable or associated with the medical center, and we wondered whether it might include units that are an extension of the residential program next door. On the other hand, market rate development works all day long over here, and that would seem more in line with what we’d expect from Ironstone. No matter who this building ultimately targets, this project offers real commentary on what’s happening here in Ludlow, as any and all available land is getting turned over and developed. These projects are filling lots that have sat empty for years and sometimes decades, bridging a long fragile gap between South Kensington and Yorktown.