Korman Center Renewal Gets Under Way at Drexel

A Korman (and Drexel) family portrait. | Photo: Sandy Smith

A Korman (and Drexel) family portrait post-groundbreaking. | Photo: Sandy Smith

When Drexel University moved its library across 33rd Street from the heart of campus in 1977, the family of Maximilian Korman (Class of 1929) and Samuel Korman (Class of 1934) made a d0nation intended to turn the building into a campus social and study center.

Over the years, the couches were replaced by computers as the university became an early adopter of networked microcomputer technology. Today, in a ceremonial groundbreaking, the Korman family joined Drexel University President John Fry in launching a reconstruction project that will return the 58-year-old Korman Center to the role the family envisioned for it, namely, the beating heart of the campus’ academic quadrant.

“This project has been wanting to happen for so long,” Fry told the audience at the ceremony before once again thanking the Kormans for giving it the push it needed. Read more »

Drexel President Named Chairman of Chamber of Commerce

John Fry, president of Drexel University.

John Fry, president of Drexel University.

The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce has found a new leader. John Fry, the president of Drexel University, will become chairman of the organization in October 2016. He’ll succeed Denis O’Brien, senior executive vice president of Exelon Corp., and CEO of Exelon Utilities.

Fry has been a member of the Chamber’s board of directors since 2010 and a member of its executive committee since 2011. He’s certainly a power-player in the Philly business community. He’s led Drexel’s Campus Master Plan, which has attracted $475 million for projects like student residences, market-rate housing, retail amenities and a hotel. In October, Fry extended his contract at Drexel for another five years. Read more »

After Drexel Broadside, Temple Prez Defends College Football

Neil Theobald won’t let John Fry rain on his parade.

Just a few days after Fry, Drexel’s president, wrote a critique of college football’s effect on, well, college, Temple’s Theobald has responded. His argument: Good football teams make great universities even better.

“A well-run football program can create innumerable benefits to a national university,” Theobald, Temple’s president, wrote in a letter shared with Philadelphia Business Journal. Read more »

Drexel President Gets Five-Year Contract Extension

John Fry of Drexel has a new contract, and a new beard.

John Fry has a new contract, and a new beard.

Drexel University has extended the contract of President John Fry for five more years. The Drexel Board of Trustees announced the move at its latest meeting.

Fry has had serious fundraising success at the school since starting his presidency in 2010 — helping to raise $455 million and $425 million in separate capital campaigns. Read more »

Time-Lapse Video: Does It Seem Like Construction Moves Slowly?

A screen shot from the time-lapse video of Lancaster Square's construction. Actual video below.

A screen shot from the time-lapse video of Lancaster Square’s construction. Actual video below.

With the exception of Evo, a building that’s going up so fast, it’s apparently an emergency — or maybe it just looks that way from my office window — watching construction projects take shape can be like watching paint dry, or grass grow, or people at IKEA walk toward the Marketplace. And in the case of some notable projects, there can be chasms of years when absolutely nothing happens even after construction has begun, leaving literal chasms in the ground. One of the best examples? The Rittenhouse Hotel, which paused mid-construction due to some very serious developer shenanigans, and left a big hole (not quite a DisneyHole, though) where kids used to play when I was growing up. It was basically an adjunct playground to Rittenhouse Square, though not technically condoned by the Fairmount Park system.


This aerial time-lapse video of the construction of Drexel’s Lancaster Square, submitted by user filadelfea to reddit philadelphia, is, in concept, very exciting. Everyone loves time-lapse videos! But the reality is that even when construction is sped up, it’s still very slow. And some folks just don’t cotton to it. As reddit user gtlgdp writes:

Could somebody please speed this up? I got too bored too fast.

I understand that reaction. Especially at the beginning. But it is worth watching the video from start to finish to see, from that all-encompassing aerial view, exactly what’s involved in a large-scale building project like this. It’s staggering to see all the moving parts and when in the process they’re deployed. Not only that, but the weather! You can really understand the way the snow necessarily interrupts these kinds of projects, or any construction for that matter. And like any time-lapse video, the changes in the weather and the landscape are just, well, pretty. And if you want to see more, go to Drexel’s official site for the time-lapse, here. It’s updated every day. Obviously.

You know what they say: Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither was Drexel. (But this project is moving along quite nicely, incidentally. John Fry makes things happen.)

John Fry to Powelton Village: We’re in Your Corner

Detail from image of UCHS from GreatPhillySchools.org

What would the residents of Powelton Village like to see Drexel University do with the University City High School site? Top of the list: create a new K-8 public school to augment the highly regarded Samuel Powel School.

What would be the last thing they want to see on the site? More student housing.

What is Drexel University’s top development priority for the UCHS property? Build a new, university-assisted K-8 public school. What won’t it put on the site? New dorms.

Neither Drexel University President John Fry nor the civic leaders, architects and planners who organized a March 5 planning workshop at 38th Street and Lancaster Avenue had spoken to each other before the event, but comments Fry made in a post-workshop interview made it seem as though he had read their minds.

Read more »

Best of Philly: Post Brothers, Michael Salove and John Fry Are “Best Philadelphians”

photo-3Philadelphia Magazine‘s Best of Philly issue is on newsstands now, and for those interested in real estate, economic development, and the city’s future, there are some real standout picks in the magazine’s “20 Best Philadelphians.”

Those who kick some serious butt in the Property world? “Retail King” Michael Salove, “Liberators” Post Brothers and “Connector” John Fry. Congrats to those three, as well as the other 17–who are best revealed on printed paper, we assure you.

Read more »