The Residence at Bala Cynwyd

Bala Cynwyd, PA

The Residence at Bala Cynwyd is a six-story, 102,000 square foot assisted living and memory care community comprised of 84 units on a prominent 4.8-acre site. The parcel was once home to the West Manayunk Woolen Mills, built in the 1850s, eventually becoming known as Lee’s Shoddy Mill, named for its production of recycled cloth from wool and cotton. The $26 million development required the demolition of the existing obsolete structures, extensive shoring, and considerable stabilization utilizing retaining walls. The new community’s stone veneer, exposed steel framing, bays, board-formed concrete, and natural exterior color palette pay homage to the former mill. Working with a local quarry, the design team sourced stone reminiscent of Wissahickon Schist to complement the brick and evoke the aesthetic of mid-19th century industrial structures in Pennsylvania.

Located at the gateway of Bala Cynwyd, the site features a challenging 100-foot slope at the rear and a historic flume running the entire length of the frontage. Collaborative efforts with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were required for thoughtful remediation of the site, as the building footprint is constructed within 10 feet of the Gulley Run Creek. The unique constraints of the site were leveraged as a design advantage, creating a lower parking level beneath a concrete partition and three distinct access points: a vehicular bridge, a dedicated pedestrian bridge, and an occupied bridge spanning the creek for multifunctional use.

To maximize natural light and generate visual interest for residents and passersby, oversized windows and amenities are south facing, articulating the street, and newly created pedestrian walkways, a public pocket park, and a bicycle path. The interior program for this “personal care” community emphasizes indoor and outdoor connections, featuring a light-filled double-height passageway through the resident bistro to the central dining area, a large outdoor patio, and a sixth-floor roof deck with an adjacent sunroom. In Pennsylvania, personal care is the term used for communities that would be considered assisted throughout much of the country, offering private apartments, meals, and help with the activities of daily living. Textures, patterns, natural tones, materials, and finishes are layered to create an elevated boutique hotel-like environment for residents. Amenities include a second-floor fitness space, salon, and activities room.

With a robust building envelope, all-electric VRF systems, and high-efficiency tilt-and-turn windows, the community earned the National Green Building Standard Silver Status certification. Additional improvements include the construction of a 10-foot-wide sidewalk and landscaped verge to improve pedestrian entry to the front of the property and access to the adjacent Cynwyd Heritage Trail.



    Interior Design

  • TYPE

    Assisted Living

    New Construction

    LCB Senior Living
  • SIZE
    102,000 sf
    Completed in 2023