NYT: Drexel May Build Over Train Yard

Examines redeveloping 75-acre train hub to host academic institutions, retail stores.

The New York Times reports today that Drexel University plans an ambitious redevelopment plan for properties it owns and adjoins near 30th Street Station, ” a 6.4 million-square-foot hub of sleek new buildings for technology incubators, academic offices and retail space” that it would call the “Innovation Neighborhood.”

The planned development, on a 12-acre site where Drexel University has acquired properties over the last decade, is part of a vision that might eventually include building over a 75-acre rail yard, an audacious idea that would represent a huge addition to the rapidly developing area immediately west of Philadelphia’s central business district.

Next month, Drexel officials plan to announce their selection of a firm to do a two-year feasibility study of the rail yard idea, which was inspired by New York’s Hudson Yards project, John A. Fry, the university’s president, said in an interview.

Craig Schulz, an Amtrak spokesman, said the current rail yard proposal was part of a wide-ranging discussion between multiple agencies, including Amtrak, Drexel, the University of Pennsylvania, and the City of Philadelphia, on how to integrate future development projects in the 30th Street Station area.

Fry adds: “We don’t want it to be an office park, we want it to be the sixth square of Philadelphia.”