The central public square | Rendering: Wexford Science + Technology, Photos: James Jennings
The surge in development in University City is showing no signs of slowing down, especially now that Wexford Science + Technology has unvieled plans to help the University City Science Center expand into a massive live-work neighborhood anchored by office and lab space, at least 300 (and potentially up to 600) apartments, plenty of retail and restaurants, new walkable streets and even a public square designed to give the 14-acre campus a sense of place.
Last week, the Science Center announced that they were looking to beef up their footprint to nearly 4 million square-feet as University City continues to position itself as an innovation hub in the heart of the Mid-Atlantic region. A major part of that is a partnership with Wexford, who will develop 10-acres worth of the former Univsersity City High School site.
“It’s the culmination of ongoing success among the anchor institutions in University City,” Science Center CEO Stephen Tang told BizPhilly’s Jared Shelly last week. “The growth of Penn, Drexel, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia — and the success we’ve had lately in nurturing startup companies that graduated from our incubator and wanted to stay in our facilities — makes this project possible.”
Here’s more on the plan
After reaching out to a Drexel University’s Director of Media Relations, we’ve received word that the former University City High School building is facing a possible late February demolition.
The news comes after the above photo, which is that of the former Charles Drew Elementary School, surfaced on Instagram. Charles Drew, along with the now demolished Walnut Center, is on the 14-acre property comprising the UCHS site, which Drexel and Wexford Science & Technology purchased last year.
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University City High School. Photo via Wikimedia.
PlanPhilly reports that a deal between Drexel University and community groups setting the terms for Drexel’s development of the former University City high school site is likely to be completed this afternoon. Drexel wants to buy the site of the shuttered school from the school district for $25 million, but first wants to secure a zoning change for the site from City Council.
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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.
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