January 18, 2017

News from International House Philadelphia

Dear Friend,

Since you are part of International House Philadelphia’s global community, we would like to share some important news with you. On December 20, 2016, International House Philadelphia took action to build a stronger foundation for the future of our organization by securing up to $10 million in funds for long-term capital projects and other needs through a refinancing agreement with Republic Bank.  

First and foremost, this agreement will provide funds to begin modernizing our aging facility at 3701 Chestnut Street, which opened in 1970. We say “begin” because there are a number of significant infrastructure projects that must be undertaken in the years ahead to upgrade the facility and enhance the unique residential and cultural experience that International House Philadelphia offers to international students and scholars, our members and the public.

With this infusion of capital, our first project this year is to replace our antiquated elevator system, a project that is critical for the comfort, convenience and safety of the residents and visitors in our 14-story building. We have already signed a contract for this long-overdue project, and all four elevators should be completed by the end of 2017. Other planned projects include upgrades to our heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, boiler replacements, renovations of the exterior facade of the building, and the installation of faster Wi-Fi throughout the building, a need identified in our resident surveys.

Under the refinancing agreement, the bank will provide up to $5 million immediately for capital projects and improvements and $3 million to pay off outstanding financial obligations of International House Philadelphia. Importantly, the bank also agreed to provide an additional $2 million for future projects and needs, if International House Philadelphia is able to raise $1.5 million in donations and binding pledges by December 31, 2017. The leadership team of International House Philadelphia is working closely with the Board of Trustees to develop a plan to help the organization achieve this goal.

This is just the first phase of our organization’s long-term vision to build a “reimagined” future for International House Philadelphia as the region’s international center for arts, culture, educational and residential activities.  

In Phase II, we plan to redesign and enhance our residential suites, which provide 330 furnished single rooms with shared bathrooms and shared kitchens in most cases. We are keenly aware that the configuration of our current suites no longer meets the expectations of our residents, and that International House Philadelphia must redefine these amenities to remain competitive in the West Philadelphia market for student housing. As a result, we have engaged an architecture firm and a design firm to develop innovative concepts for the redesign of our 10-bedroom suites, which comprise the vast majority of our residential space.

In the months to come, we look forward to sharing our vision with you, and to updating you on these and many other new developments at International House Philadelphia, including soon-to-be announced plans to enhance our cinema program and its position as a leader in presenting curated independent, international and repertory films. Stay tuned!

Thank you, as always, for your continued support of International House Philadelphia.


Ludo Scheffer

Chair, International House Board of Trustees

and IHP Alumnus (1988-1994)

James M. Papada, III                                                                          

Interim CEO & President