Residents await plans for former EPPI building in East Falls

Settlement was made last month for the purchase of the site of the former Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute in East Falls by NewCourtland Senior Services. 

The Pennsylvania Department of General Services had accepted NewCourtland's bid of $2.1 million for the 14-acre site at 3232 Henry Ave. last fall, and the sale was finalized by the state in early January.

NewCourtland's design plans for the property have not yet been made public, and the surrounding community is still hoping its vision for the prominent site at 3232 Henry Ave. will be considered when redevelopment begins.

NewCourtland saw "an opportunity to put a nice parcel in their inventory, and it came at an attractive price," said state Rep. Pamela DeLissio. "But there will be no bulldozers anytime soon."

'How we got to this point'

Representatives of NewCourtland met with the East Falls Community Council in mid-January to present the company's model for affordable senior housing and community-based services.

"The residents of the area have definite ideas of what they don't want to see — and that's an institutional use" for the site, DeLissio said. "There had been legislation that existed that said a sale could not take place without community input. But that legislation had sunseted and was no longer in play," she said. "The community felt blindsided" by the sale of the property.

The January meeting "served the purpose of asking how we got to this point. People have now accepted that we are where we are," DeLissio said. "But the community made it clear at that meeting that they wanted to still have input."

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About the author

Alan Jaffe, Contributor

Alan Jaffe has been a contributing writer for PlanPhilly since 2008, focusing on overlooked buidlings and historic preservation issues. He was a writer and editor in the newspaper industry for nearly 30 years, including eight at the Philadelphia Inquirer and nine at the South Jersey Courier-Post. He is currently the director of communications for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. He is also an antiques writer and collector and the author of “J. Chein & Co.: A Collector’s Guide to an American Toymaker.”

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