Glam It Up: Makeover of 40th Street Trolley Portal to Start in 2016

Rendering by Andropogon Associates via University City District website

Rendering by Andropogon Associates via University City District website

In case you missed it, the University City District has published its latest State of University City report, an annually-released compendium of the developments bubbling up in University City. The guide spotlights several sectors in U.C., among them academic, commercial, and residential, as well as the impact UCD itself has on this section of the city.

With relation to the latter, the release of the report came with the announcement that the 40th Street Trolley Portal transformation would be seeing its groundbreaking take place next year.

We previously reported the makeover project, spearheaded by UCD in partnership with SEPTA, the city, and neighborhood leaders, came with the aim of turning the bleak station into a lively social space with greenery and stormwater infrastructure, movable furniture, and arts and cultural programming.

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West Philly Rising

A rendering of the under construction FMC tower and the growing West Philly skyline. | Pelli Clarke Pelli/Brandywine Realty Trust.

A rendering of the under construction FMC tower and the growing West Philly skyline. | Pelli Clarke Pelli/Brandywine Realty Trust.

Each year, the University City District compiles, in a glossy report, the vital signs for the eastern half of West Philly. For a while now, the trend lines have been strong. But this year, the numbers are truly staggering. Read more »

Introducing Our Fast Casual Tracker


Honeygrow opened in University City today.

We were anticipating rolling out our Fast Casual Tracker today, before the bombshell news hit that Urban Outfitters had bought the Vetri Family of restaurants including Pizzeria Vetri. We imagined the big news for everyone’s first look at the Tracker would be that Honeygrow opened its seventh location today in University City at 3731 Walnut Street.

Well Honeygrow did open but the Vetri news got us shuffling our buzzy list before we even posted it.

So check it out, the Foobooz Fast Casual Tracker, your one-stop spot for the latest in Philadelphia’s increasingly crowded fast-casual dining scene.

Fast Casual Tracker [Foobooz]

Post Brothers Betting Big on University City; Plans Garden Court Revamp

Garden Court Plaza

Garden Court Plaza

Post Brothers is starting to execute their plans to get in on some of the action around University City. The company announced they’ve acquired the Garden Court Plaza, a gorgeous 1920s-era apartment building at 47th and Pine Street (map), with plans to undertake a massive renovation project that largely caters to the area’s built-in population of post-graduates.

According to a press release about the acquisition, Post Brothers has “earmarked” $250 million to invest in projects that look to keep recent grads and a growing workforce in and around University City (47th and Pine is really Walnut Hill). “Our principal goal is to harness the energy of this exciting neighborhood to create re-imagined, high-quality apartments that are reflective of the neighborhood’s vibrant, upwardly-mobile population,” said Post’s CEO Michael Pestronk.

The plan at Garden Court Plaza calls for 146 apartment units, and will look to take the historic structure to the next level by bringing a new management team on site. Oh, and they will also be adding an amenity package on par with the flashy new high-rises popping up on Market and Chestnut streets.

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University City Continues to Grow with Planned 3.0 University Place Complex

The Pep Boys Site at 41st and Market, 2.0 University Place in background | Google Street View

The Pep Boys Site at 41st and Market, 2.0 University Place in background | Google Street View

Philadelphia’s new boom – in population, jobs, housing, restaurants, retailers, and office space – is well documented. But if you thought Center City was the only one of Philly’s hot areas leading the way, here’s a reminder: University City is putting in its fair share of work too.

It’s next development gearing up for a launch? 3.0 University Place, a proposed LEED Platinum-certified office complex planned for the corner of 41st and Market, formerly the site of a Pep Boys. According to PlanPhilly, a bill proposing to rezone the property for high-density commercial mixed-use designation was introduced to City Council last week. It’d also touch on surrounding sites:

The bill also rezones a number of blocks surrounding the 3.0 University Place site, affecting the area bounded by 40th, 44th, Ludlow, and Powelton Ave.

In fact, 3.0 University Place is part of a larger plan by University Place Associates (UPA) to build a “Platinum Corridor” in West Philadelphia. Read more »

University City Dwarfs Center City in Growth of Well-Paying Jobs

Share of middle- and high-wage jobs by submarket. (JLL Research/U.S. Census Bureau.)

Share of middle- and high-wage jobs by submarket. (JLL Research/U.S. Census Bureau.)

The year 2008 sure feels like a long time ago. The housing bubble burst, the stock market fizzled and employers everywhere were downsizing. Now that we’re years into the recovery, I’m sure we’d all like to forget those days.

In Philadelphia, the job market has gotten undoubtedly better — especially in University City and Center City which has seen an 11 percent increase in jobs from 2008 to 2013 (the most recent data available.) That’s according to JLL research and U.S. Census Bureau data. Read more »

Jose Andres Brings Beefsteak to Philly


A healthy lunch from Beefsteak

World-renowned chef Jose Andres makes his debut in Philadelphia by bringing his vegetarian, fast-food concept, Beefsteak to the University of Pennsylvania campus in early 2016.

Beefsteak – a name with a twist for a vegetable heavy menu – offers a selection of veggie bowls from original, chef-inspired combinations or simply made to order. The main ingredient here is the vegetables that showcase the seasons, as well as, year-round favorites. Beefsteak’s veggie bowls offer a variety of combinations prepared in a flash and blanched to order.

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Hip to be uCity Square: Science Center Unveils Vision, New Name

uCity Square - Filbert at 36th Street

uCity Square – Filbert at 36th Street | Renderings: Wexford Science+ Technology

Market Street is exploding with development, and the University City Science Center is looking to position it campus as the western anchor of Philadelphia’s burgeoning innovation corridor. That starts with re-thinking about what the Science Center has been, what it is today and what it’s going to become.

The answer to that last bit was unveiled yesterday on the rooftop of a parking structure that will eventually become the corner of the soon-to-be re-introduced 37th and Market Street. As both a brand and a place, the Science Center will henceforth be known as uCity Square.

“Science Center’s campus for over 50 years has been largely two-dimensional with buildings on both sides of Market Street,” said Dr. Stephen Tang, President and CEO of the University City Science Center. “This is really a third dimension, the whole uCity Square concept.”

The massive development project will see the Science Center swell from over 1 million square-feet to 6 million square-feet by the time the 10-year, $1 billion (plus) plan is completed. The addition of the University City High School site directly north of Market Street makes it all possible to create this new live/work/play environment, with what developers Wexford Science + Technology call “a community of ingenuity” full of a mix cutting edge lab, office and retail space.

Both Tang and Joe Reagan, Wexford’s vice president of development, think the finished product will be unrivaled on the East Coast-including Cambridge’s tech hub, Kendall Square.

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Free Outdoor Movie Series Coming To University City


I love outdoor movies. I grew up spending weekends slowly asphyxiating inside my parents’ old Fiat at one of the last, true drive-in movie theaters around, watching the mosquitoes bashing themselves stupid against the glass of the windows that must NEVER be rolled down, watching some of the classics of the late 70’s the way god intended: through a smudged windshield and a fog of my father’s pipe smoke, soundtracks piped in over a tinny, terrible window-mounted speaker. Star Wars, Jaws, Hooper–I saw them all at the drive-in, a double-feature almost every weekend during the summer.

So obviously, I have a weakness for movies shown al fresco. And the folks at Clark Park in University City must suffer from the same affliction, because they’re running a whole series of free outdoor movies starting this weekend. There’ll be food, drink, ice cream, special events. And we have all the details right after the jump.

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Kevin Sbraga’s the Fat Ham Offering Three Days of Wings


Winged Out Pop Up at The Fat Ham

Kevin Sbraga, who is very much a chicken whisperer, is doing chicken wings for three days at his University City restaurant, the Fat Ham. His Winged Out Pop Up is running from Thursday, September 3rd through Saturday, September 5th.

The pop-up will feature three different kinds of wings at $7 for a half-dozen. The wings will be available for eat-in or takeout.

Check out the wing flavors »

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