MJD 2For the last 150 years, Mary J Drexel on Belmont Avenue in Bala Cynwyd has been a symbol of excellence for the nursing care of older adults. It joined the Liberty Lutheran Family of Services in 2008 and today is in midst of a major transformation that will allow for a new model for care and community life for older adults at this historic site.

Crews are hard at work these days to turn the property into a state-of-the-art Assisted Living Community. The former nursing home and cottage were demolished in the spring of 2012. Dave DeLuca, Director of Real Estate for Liberty Lutheran, said they were able to get some materials in the ground before the winter and then battled through the cold and freezing weather to lay the foundation before spring.

“Every day it wasn’t snowing, we were here working on the rock and working on the foundation pieces,” DeLuca explained.

Artists Rendering of Renovations and Restorations at Mary J Drexel
Artist’s Rendering of Renovations and Restorations at Mary J Drexel

The historic mansion is being renovated and two-story additions are being built on both sides of the structure, referred to as the East and West wings. Each of these four floors will be a unique household community. Each household will include 17 one-bedroom apartments, two studios and one one-bedroom/den apartment to accommodate 20 residents. These spacious apartments will include a private bath and living room, and just a short walk from the hub of resident-centered activity that features a large open kitchen and living room. The interior design for all four households is the aesthetic of a residential home rather than the traditional medical nursing home environment. By eliminating long hallways, each apartment is close to the hub of resident and staff activities.

MJD 4DeLuca said the work they completed through the winter allowed for substantial progress from the spring 2013 into the summer.

“In the last six months this has been a very happening place,” he said.

Carpenters, steelworkers and mechanical tradesmen are working through the summer to build the framework and lay the roof. Once that’s completed, DeLuca said, crews will be able to start doing the mechanical work within the walls.

“There is a reasonable chance that the majority of the building construction pieces will be done around the turn of the year,” said DeLuca. He added that if all goes according to plan, they will focus on the finishing touches, such as high-end furniture and artwork, during the first quarter of 2014.


When it is completed, DeLuca said most people won’t notice much a difference when they drive past the property. Architects and planners designed the changes, he explained, so that no new building would extend further towards Belmont Avenue than the carriage barn, which will also get facelift. Once you drive into the property, DeLuca said you will see new landscaping featuring a beautiful trellis and a stone wall along the new East wing. The restored Mansion and new West wing will be situated towards the rear of the property.

“When spring opens up again next year, we’ll be ready to do some business,” DeLuca said.

Click here for more information on Mary J Drexel or call Pam Cummings, Vice President, Senior Sales & Marketing, Liberty Lutheran: 267-464-7746