Just over 3 years ago, the North Philadelphia Health System was facing bankruptcy and sold their medical complex at 801 W. Girard Avenue to Iron Stone Real Estate Partners for $5.25 million. Iron Stone subsequently invested $10 million to update the physical plant and other portions of the complex. Iron Stone leased the property back to North Philadelphia Health System so they could continue their work offering substance use disorder services, inpatient psychiatric services, and outpatient drug and alcohol treatment services.
From an outsider’s perspective, not much has changed at the property since Iron Stone acquired it. However, change may indeed be on the way. On December 31st, zoning permits were issued for the subdivision of 801 W. Girard Avenue and the construction of a 6-story structure with 48 residential units on floors 4 through 6, visitor accommodations on floors 2 through 3, and 19 car parking spots on the first floor. As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, visitor accommodations are short term rental units or a hotel.
We have not seen the full plans for this project yet, so we are not sure where the new building will be located. However, we have to imagine it will be on the site of the surface parking lot between 8th and 9th St. on Girard Avenue. The other area on the property that is available for development is the northeast corner of the parcel at Franklin and Thompson St.
The parcel is zoned CMX-3 and stretches across 8th St. By subdividing the property, the owners may in fact not be taking advantage of the full floor area ratio (FAR) afforded to them with the current setup. However, without seeing the plans, we can’t be sure about this. The project team likely knows more about this than we do and has likely looked into this issue. The opposite, in fact, could be true and this new setup could allow them to build more square footage than if they were not subdividing the site.
If the piece of land they are breaking off does not have any other existing buildings on it that will remain, we’d imagine the new building would need to include a commercial space as the parcel is zoned CMX-3. However, there is no mention of a commercial space in the zoning permit. No variance requests for the property are on the ZBA calendar.
We would definitely like to see a ground floor commercial space included in this project if it does front Girard Avenue. The amount of development between Northern Liberties and Broad St. along the West Girard Avenue corridor is astounding, and we don’t think it will stop anytime soon. We expect more proposals and ground breakings along this section of Girard Avenue in the coming years. There are a few large projects right around here that we haven’t had a chance to cover yet. Stay tune… We’ll get there.
Kyle is a Philadelphia real estate agent on the Agent PHL team at Compass, a homeowner, and a real estate investor in Philadelphia. Kyle uses his extensive Philadelphia real estate market knowledge to help his clients find homes, investment properties, and development opportunities.
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