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PHILADELPHIA-A 3300 Henry LP partnership headed by locally based Iron Stone Real Estate Cos. has begun conversion of the multi-building, 13-acre former Medical College of Pennsylvania site at 3300 Henry Ave. in East Falls. It acquired the property a year ago for $11 million from a nonprofit entity that tried, but failed, to keep the hospital after Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. shuttered it.

The MCP campus, which began as Women’s Medical Hospital, is an assemblage of four multi-story buildings and a smaller gatehouse that, together, aggregate 700,000 sf. The largest building dates back to 1929, and the others were constructed between then and 1995.

The major buildings are “architecturally significant,” says Gary Gordon, Iron Stone’s VP, and the new owner will retrofit them and is in the process of applying for designation by the National Register of Historic Places. At a projected total investment of $65 million, the owners are redeveloping the complex in phases.

The master plan calls for 350 market-rate rental apartments, 120 senior living units and 250,000 sf of office and retail space, which Gordon says will include a fitness and senior center. “We’re retaining the medical nature of some of the facilities,” he tells GlobeSt.com, and redevelopment of the commercial space is currently under way.

Elwyn Inc., an Elwyn-based provider of services for people who are disadvantaged, has leased 25,000 sf for a school for children with autism. Capogiro Gelato Artisans has signed a three-year lease for the 14,000-sf former hospital cafeteria kitchen. Capogiro has two retail locations in Center City and supplies local grocery stores and restaurants. It will use the Falls Center space for production.

In addition, Capogiro has committed to opening a 3,500-sf gelato and coffee shop in the former gatehouse. “The production facility will open in early 2008,” Gordon says, “and the coffee shop later that year.” Christopher Plant of locally based Elfant Wissahickon Realtors represented Capogiro in the lease negotiations. The value of the transaction is undisclosed. Gordon says negotiations are currently under way for a fitness center that will include a chiropractic clinic, juice bar and hair and tanning salons.

Iron Stone has multifamily properties in Old City and it will develop the market-rate residential units. “We’re seeking an operator to partner in the senior living component,” Gordon says. He expects both residential phases to begin early next year and anticipates completion of Falls Center in 2009.

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