A campus that once held the country’s first medical school for women is getting transformed into a luxury apartment building—and representatives say they want to honor the structure’s rich, feminist history.
The 131-unit project, called The Preston, will open at the beginning of August in the Falls Center off Henry Avenue in East Falls. The building was constructed in 1929 as another campus for the Woman’s Medical College—the country’s first college of its kind for women—and in recent years it has been home to Philadelphia University student housing.
“This building has such a rich medical history to it,” Julie Foyle, director of leasing for Watchtower Properties. “The goal is to promote a healthy lifestyle for everyone.”
The exterior remains the same, but as for the interior renovations, there are several ways Iron Stone Real Estate Partners, the group overseeing the project, has brought the history of the space to the forefront, Foyle said. The name of the new apartment complex, “The Preston,” is in honor of Ann Preston, one of the first women to graduate from the Woman’s Medical College, who then went on to become its dean in the late 1800s.
Several amenities also recall the building’s medical history, like one floor devoted entirely to “wellness” with a yoga studio and cardio room, and a club room with a kitchen that holds a variety of vegan and vegetarian recipes, Foyle said.
The 131 apartment units will include everything from studios, which start at $950, to three-bed apartments, which run about $2,100. There will be a dog park with an indoor dog washing area, an on-site restaurant, and free garage parking.
“It’s like a piece of art,” Foyle said of the building, which stands out in its construction; it has a steel frame, unlike many contemporary apartment buildings, as well as 40-foot classical columns at the entrance. Of the feeling you get inside, Foyle simply calls it “serene.”
The building is actively leasing now, and the first two floors will be open in August, with a grand opening slated for September.