A decade from now, the face of University City will be one lined with new features and high-rise development. Most recently, Drexel celebrated the completion of its new $92M 12-story LeBow Hall at 32nd & Market. The school has a green roof, a Green Globe certificate and includes LeBow College’s five centers.
In the past. Image by Chris Cowen
Two years ago, the new LeBow building was the site of Matheson Hall, a standard square institutional building. We’ve covered the process from demolition, to the release of the designs of the structure that includes four stories fronted by all glass, through the construction process, and now to completion.
Glass plus a tower
Drexel has been busy building new facilities and announcing plans to construct new buildings. A month ago,…
In West Philly, development is in swing across the board, from residential to commercial, one-off to large-scale. Much of the recent growth in University City has been inspired by rampant institutional growth over the last several years. New buildings at universities and hospitals often means new jobs and considerable benefit to the local economy.
Take 38th & Market for example. 3737 Market is an 11-story collaboration between University City Science Center and Wexford Science & Technology that will include an expansion for Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, ground-floor retail, and office space. Currently, it’s receiving its exterior finishings, which make the building look like a new pair of RayBan’s. To the east, plans are on the boards to replace a surface parking lot at 3601 Market St. with a 28-story apartment building.
3737 Market under construction
Last year, Drexel President John Fry announced plans for the school and Amtrak to together develop a multi-million dollar feasibility study that looked into the possibility of developing the railyards around 30th Street Station.
30th Street Station from Market Street
This year, they’re moving ahead and recently issued an RFP for a master plan to redevelop the area immediately surrounding 30th Street Station, which in 2012 recorded record-high ridership. Amtrak forecasts predict a 59% increase in rail ridership and 41% increase in train volume in Philadelphia by 2030. Bids are due by November 18th, and a public process could begin by next year.
“Since then the project has evolved,” said Janet Campbell-Lorenc, of Amtrak, referring to the feasibility study announced last year.
Aerial view of the rail yards
The potential project represents a collaboration…
Penn is up and building again, this time in the form of a six-story office building with a green roof at 39th & Walnut. This will mark the second new structure on the block in the last few years, joining the Radian, a 14-story residential tower with various commercial offerings, including City Tap House.
Penn owns the parcel at 3901 Walnut St., formerly home to Philly Diner, which closed in October 2011 after about a decade of serving the early morning and late night whims of University City. It was razed last year. When we talked to Penn around the time of the close, Ed Datz, director of real estate at Penn Facilities and Real Estate Services told us Penn was exploring its options to determine a viable use of the parcel. That…
Now that all of University City’s biggest institutions, including Drexel, the Science Center, and Penn are building new towers, pockets in nearby neighborhoods where development has been quiet for years are now seeing improvement, like rapid development near 40th & Baring (though if you look at the architecture over there, improvement might not really be the right word).
When you come over the Spring Garden Bridge there are three new projects now under construction on Spring Garden before you hit 35th Street. From Spring Garden Street, the bulk of traffic heads south. But last week, on the lookout for new projects, we decided to head north.
Quadplex under construction
It wasn’t long before we spotted 516 N. 34th St., a new corner quadplex under construction at 34th & Brandywine. The property was purchased in June 2012 for $80K. Surely, it will be…
A reader reached out the other day wondering about the activity they recently witnessed at 3423-27 Spring Garden St., very close to the under-construction Dornsife Center. We finally found ourselves in that neck of the woods the other day, and discovered that a foundation in in place for a new structure. Looking at an image of this address from a couple of years ago, it looks like it was a very well maintained vacant lot.
In the past
From what we can tell, the lot previously belonged to the party who owns the building next door, and it seems that these folks put time, money, and effort into maintaining the lot as an outdoor space. But earlier this year, they lost the property at sheriff’s sale and it was purchased by