Grays Ferry Education and Wellness Center in the South Philadelphia neighborhood is bringing new purpose to a former Philadelphia public school building that had stood vacant since 2009. The project is redeveloping a four-story, 44,000-square-foot school building into a community health and education center. Developers are installing significant energy efficiency measures, including a new roof, windows and insulation. A blighted warehouse near the property is being demolished to make room for parking. Alcorn Education and Wellness Center will offer a full suite of services to help children and families start strong and stay healthy.
Reinvestment Fund is collaborating with JPMorgan Chase and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) to deploy New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) for the financing of this project. Reinvestment Fund provided a short-term construction loan, and with $7 million of NMTC from Chase and PIDC, Reinvestment Fund will provide an energy loan and direct loan for the $9.6 million project.
The revitalized building will be the new home of a Family School run by Family Support Services—an organization with a long history of serving Philadelphia families. The Family School will offer early childhood education to over 100 children at a time, with complementary parenting education services for their families. For more than ten years, Family Schools have worked to empower and support families, enhance parental capacity and eliminate child neglect and abuse. This new location will open up their services to a new community of Philadelphia residents. In addition to the school, a full-service Spectrum Health Services clinic will provide medical and dental care, as well as access to nutritionists, counselors and case managers. The clinic is expected to treat 6,000 patients each year. A third social service provider will be identified for the building’s fourth floor. Tenants plan to collaborate on some programs with each other and the nearby Salvation Army. They anticipate the creation of 105 full-time jobs as a result of this project.