Friday, August 25, 2017

Massive $6.5B Redevelopment Planned for University City

University City is in for some major changes thanks to a new redevelopment plan from Amtrak and partners SEPTA, Brandywine Realty Trust, and Drexel University. The plan will be the single largest development project in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and turn West Philadelphia into a regional economic hub. 

The development is expected to cost $6.5 billion, with $2 billion going to infrastructure investments and the other $4.5 billion coming from developers.

The project is expected to create 22,000 construction jobs and another 10,000 permanent jobs, and add 8,000 to 10,000 residents to the city’s population.

The massive venture will focus on the area around 30th Street Station, the second-busiest station in the Amtrak system, ultimately turning the area into a second downtown for Philadelphia.

Plans for the station and surrounding neighborhood will start with the capping of the existing Amtrak and SEPTA-owned rail yards to accommodate 10 million square feet of development along the Schuylkill River.

Click to enlarge
New office, retail and residential buildings containing 18 million square feet of total space and 40 acres of open space would be created, with most of the development privately financed.

The project will include housing for 10,000 residents and create 1.2 million square feet of commercial space.

Three pedestrian bridges across the Schuylkill River, linking University City with Logan Square and Center City, are also planned.

The redevelopment site consists of a total of 175 acres in the University City neighborhood, 88 of which is occupied by the Amtrak rail yard.

This project is the culmination of a two-year study of the site, which extends east of Drexel’s campus between Walnut and Spring Garden Streets and northeast from 30th Street Station.

Among the infrastructure improvements are plans to relocate a ramp for the Schuylkill Expressway in favor of a new bus terminal.

Click to enlarge
In addition to the bus facility, Amtrak also plans to expand The Porch at 30th Street Station.

A new gateway park will surround the facility with a tree-lined promenade along the river, a west-side plaza that could be used for large-scale events and a north plaza along Arch Street.

The 30th Street Station itself will also receive a major renovation that will add retail space and a new pedestrian plaza around the train station.

A new underground concourse that will connect the SEPTA subway station at 30th Street to the Amtrak station, is also planned.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Three Construction Projects Will Transform Temple University

Temple University is investing $300 million in new and upgraded facilities as part of a campus renaissance. Temple’s residential campus continues to evolve, with major construction projects bringing a new state-of-the-art library, a 35,000-seat football stadium, a health and wellness center and on-campus retail space. 

A new state-of-the art library 

The former site of Barton Hall will soon be home to Temple University’s new library, designed by Snøhetta, an architectural firm known for its innovative library designs, in partnership with Philadelphia-based design firm Stantec.

Demolition of the old Barton Hall was completed in March.

Plans include a library with more than 225,000-square-foot occupying a space approximately the size of a city block.

It will be bounded by Polett Walk to the south, Liacouras Walk to the west, Norris Street to the north and the Quad to the east.

A state-of-the art automated storage and retrieval system will allow the library to devote more square footage to learning spaces and less space to book stacks.
The new building will have dramatic arched entrances and a green roof, as well as a large, upper-level outdoor balcony space that will offer views of campus.

New Football Stadium

Temple University plans to construct a new 35,000-seat football stadium, with an estimated cost of $126 million, on the northwest corner of its main campus.

The multi-purpose stadium and retail complex will be bounded by Broad Street, Norris Street, 16th Street and Montgomery Avenue.

Temple has hired AECOM and architects Moody Nolan to design the project.

AECOM designed Florida Atlantic University's football stadium in 2012. At 29,419 seats, it's slightly smaller than Temple's stadium.

There are many reasons why the university is considering an on-campus stadium, including the long-term benefit of owning a stadium instead of renting one.

Owning a stadium is anticipated to result in net savings of approximately $3 million annually. That’s money that can be used for other priorities. The Philadelphia Eagles have been criticized for charging Temple $1 million a year to lease their stadium.

“Having our own stadium will help showcase our vibrant campus as we celebrate Temple’s accomplishments on and off the field," says Temple President Neil D. Theobald.

Temple Stadium will have a capacity of about 35,000—about half the size of Lincoln Financial Field, where the university now plays its home games.

The project promises to help revitalize North Broad Street and contribute to the North Philadelphia economy.

Construction will also include an adjacent practice facility and a student recreation building. Temple plans to begin construction of the facility later this year.

Student Health and Wellness Center

Temple University will break ground this month on a new Student Health and Wellness Center—an academic, athletics and recreation facility that will provide space for students in the College of Public Health to hone their clinical skills along with space for recreational sports and weight training.

The centerpiece of the 95,000 square foot facility is the main entrance, angled toward the intersection of 15th Street and Montgomery Avenue.

A two-and-a-half-story glass atrium will greet pedestrians, who will enter the facility beneath a portion of an outdoor track that serves as a balcony above the main doors before returning to ground level around the perimeter of the building.

The multipurpose facility's academic area will have smart classrooms, laboratory spaces with the latest technology and lecture halls, as well as a unique apartment space where demonstrations can take place.

The new center will also have an indoor recreation area that includes a 70-yard synthetic turf field, a climbing wall and a juice bar.

The field is for use by the school's athletic teams, as well as participants in Temple's 36 club sports and 10 intramural sports. The recreation area will also offer twice the amount of free-weight space currently available to students. Outside, a track will be available to the public.

The targeted completion date is early in 2018. The architecture firm Moody Nolan designed the facility.

Friday, August 11, 2017

University Plans Massive $1.5 Billion Hospital Tower

The University of Pennsylvania is planning to knock down its Penn Tower to make way for a new $1.5 billion hospital building that will house 700 patient beds, 50 operating rooms and other health-care services.

The city planning commission has already approved plans for the 343-foot-tall structure that will take the place of the university's Penn Tower once its demolition is complete.

The 1.1 million-square-foot New Patient Pavilion will include 500 inpatient rooms, 50 operating rooms, and an emergency section, as well as a 650-space underground parking garage.

The commission voted to permit changes to the University of Pennsylvania master plan needed for construction of the building at 300 S. 33rd Street, which will serve as a patient-intake hub for surrounding medical facilities.

Plans include linking the new tower with Penn's existing hospital building complex and with the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine.

Construction will be done in multiple phases. It’s expected that the University of Pennsylvania Health System will begin razing Penn Tower this year to make way for construction of the new hospital.

The existing Penn Tower was originally built in 1975 as the Hilton Hotel of Philadelphia. The structure was later acquired by Penn and has housed a variety of offices and clinics for the Penn Health System.

Those operations and employees have or will be relocated to other sites in University City and in Center City in preparation of its eventual demolition.

L.F. Driscoll and Balfour Beatty Construction have been retained to oversee the building of the new Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania facility. Driscoll is a Philadelphia construction management firm owned by Structure Tone.

Balfour Beatty Construction is a national construction management firm based in Dallas. Driscoll has been a go-to firm for the health system in the past and has completed a deep list of projects for it.

The architectural firm Foster + Partners will design the estimated $1.5 billion project. Foster + Partners, based in London, is a world-renowned firm that also designed the Comcast Center for Innovation and Technology. L.F. Driscoll is also the general contractor on that $1.2 billion project.

HDR Inc., one of the leading health care architects, is also on the team. The innovative firm has designed medical and health related facilities across the United States and around the world.

The health system is one of Philadelphia’s largest employers and is a huge economic engine for the region. The health system and medical school together form a $4.3 billion enterprise and the area’s most profitable medical center.

Friday, August 4, 2017

7 Major Projects Planning to Break Ground in Philadelphia

There are no less than seven major projects in various stages of the approval process waiting to get underway in Philadelphia, including the Hyatt Centric Hotel, PHA Headquarters, and the 4th and Callowhill Towers.

Philadelphia Housing Authority New Headquarters

2013 Ridge Avenue


The Philadelphia Housing Authority plans a five-story limestone-and-terra-cotta office building at Ridge Avenue and Jefferson Street in the city's Sharswood neighborhood as its new headquarters.

Plans for the 119,000-square-foot PHA building also call for retail space and a cafe on the structure's ground floor.

The PHA is moving its headquarters from western Center City to Sharswood, a neighborhood just north of Girard College, as part of its $500-million redevelopment plan involving hundreds of new homes for the North Philadelphia neighborhood. An 18,500-square-foot Save-A-Lot grocery store is also planned near the new PHA headquarters building.

Architect: BLT Architects

Aramark’s New Global Headquarters

2400-2414 Market Street


Aramark has big plans for its new global headquarters on Market Street. The $15 billion, Fortune 200 global leader in food, facilities management and uniforms plans to relocate to 2400 Market Street in early 2019.

Situated along the Schuylkill River, the existing structure, originally built as a Hudson Motor Car Company plant in the 1920s, will be transformed into a modern, 600,000 square foot, nine-story building with an emphasis on innovation, sustainability and green space.

Aramark will occupy the top five floors and nearly 300,000 square feet as the building’s anchor tenant. Building plans include featuring the Aramark logo in a similar manner to the company’s iconic sign atop its current 1101 Market Street location.

Architect: Gensler
Developer: PMC Property Group

Hyatt Centric Hotel

1612 Chancellor Street

Big plan are afoot to construct a new 12-story, 300-room Hyatt Centric hotel at 17th and Chancellor Streets. The hotel will be constructed on a site where a four-story parking garage now stands. Little Pete's diner, in the retail portion of the parking structure, will have to search for another location.

The hotel is planned to have a rooftop restaurant, underground parking and retail space.

The Hyatt Centric will be the second Hyatt hotel in Philadelphia's inventory along with Hyatt at the Bellevue on Broad Street. The 348-room Hyatt on Penn's Landing, earlier this year, was rebranded as a full-service Hilton hotel called Hilton Philadelphia at Penn's Landing.

The lifestyle brand Hyatt Centric, by Hyatt Hotels Corp. was introduced early last year, becoming the sixth brand Hyatt has introduced since 2006. The Hyatt Centric name was inspired by the brand’s mission of putting its guest at the center of the action in the best destinations.

Architect: DAS Architects

4th and Callowhill Towers

Tower 1: 309-315 Callowhill Street

Tower 2: 444 N. 3rd Street

This Cecil Baker + Partners-designed project will bring two 23- and 26-story residential towers to a mostly industrial area between Old City and Northern Liberties. The design was driven by the East Callowhill zoning overlay, which was passed to encourage more mixed-use development.

The project is using storm water management, a public space, mixed-income, and retail for added height bonuses that are within the ECO.

2501 Washington Avenue

Plans call for 17 single-family townhomes, two 2-family dwellings, and another 5-story mixed-use development with 64 multi-family dwellings on the fairly drab corner of 25th and Washington in Grays Ferry.

The goal is to enliven the corner with retail on the ground and basement levels of the mixed-use building, and make the area a more popular neighborhood.

Architect: PZS Architects

1845 Hartranft Street

Down in South Philly, this DesignBlendz project calls for 34 residences with 28 garages and 12 parking spaces.

Plans for the interior courtyard include a green wall to bring some life to the development.

Architect: DesignBlendz

4440-42 Ridge Avenue

This Harman Deutsch-designed proposal for a 136-unit mixed-use development would be neighbors to the already under construction Ridge Flats development at 4300 Ridge Avenue and Falls Bridge Lofts next door.

Architects: Harman Deutsch