Morning Headlines: Tense Negotiations Around University City High School Site

Plus, a "dissident Teamster" and the future of L2.

University City High School. Photo via Wikimedia.

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.

So far, negotiations haven’t been entirely smooth:

A bill that would upzone the property to CMX-4, a high-density commercial mixed-use category, was subject to a hearing in Council’s Committee on Rules last week, but was held at the request of its sponsor, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell. Blackwell accused Drexel of failing to negotiate in good faith with her office and local community groups.

The latest form of the bill would cap the height of buildings on the large site at 75 feet around the edges and 120 feet farther in. Drexel says it will invest almost $1 billion in the site and that its development will provide 3,700 full-time permanent jobs. Details on Drexel’s plan haven’t been released, but the plan will likely involve commercial, residential, and institutional uses, plus—maybe—a new K-8 public school similar to Penn’s Penn Alexander School.

Drexel says it needs to secure the change in zoning by June 16, when the sale from the school district is scheduled to close.

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