The owners of private home-healthcare company Around The Clock recently told NewsWorks that construction for their new two-story, 10,000 square-foot facility at 5301 Germantown Ave. is nearly complete.
But the company’s move from its current office space — less than one block away at 5226 Germantown Ave. — has been nearly seven years in the making.
More than 100 aides with Around The Clock assist seniors with activities like grocery shopping, meal preparation and other daily-living needs.
Co-owners Patricia McKinley and Theresa Williams began seeking new office space for the 17-year-old business because staff size outgrew building capacity.
McKinley, a resident of Germantown for more than 30 years, said they consciously opted to stay in the Northwest Philadelphia neighborhood.
“We feel comfortable here,” she said. “We have an aging population in this area. We chose to stay here because we’ve been here for so many years, and we figured this would also help the community.”
When they purchased the property near Germantown Ave. and Penn St. in 2006, the space consisted of a dilapidated building and garages. The recession shelved revitalization plans since lenders were tight with the purse strings in 2008.
“When Theresa and I started this, it was our dream,” McKinley said. “We just could not get funding, but we kept trying because we just did not want to leave a hole in the ground.”
The patience of McKinley and Williams proved warranted when they received a loan from the United Bank of Philadelphia last year. The old buildings were demolished in December and McDonald Building Company began construction on the new building earlier this year.
Some neighbors, like Aine Doley, said they were unsure of the property’s fate because the owners never informed them as to what was coming.
“People have been speculating on what the new building would be,” she said. “As far as any details on what’s going in there, we don’t have any information about that.”
She said the new building will be used as office space for Around The Clock employees. It will also provide additional room to expand training programs for its employees so the company can ultimately provide more diverse services to seniors.
McKinley noted that much of the community outreach on the project occurred shortly after the property was purchased and prior to demolition.
She said company officials met with several neighborhood entities including representatives from the nearby Germantown Friends School and Wister Neighbors Association and received positive feedback about the new development.
Doley said the community would have appreciated more of a heads up, though.
“Maybe a ‘Coming Soon’ sign or something that has all of the details laid out on the front of the building would be helpful,” she said. “It’s just unfortunate that we don’t know what’s going on sometimes. We need better practices for community collaboration and for getting information out to the Germantown community in a better way.”
With a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Around The Clock facility slated for sometime in August, McKinley said she hopes members of the community will attend to learn more about the business.
“We’re going to try to invite as many people from the community as possible … so they can receive information about our services,” she said. “We try to help people in the community by providing discounted and pro-bono services whenever possible.
“We’re from this community, so our interest is in maintaining and uplifting this community.”