Originally published by the Philadelphia Inquirer
Drexel University president John Fry wanted his campus to expand into an adjacent neighborhood of innovative businesses, bustling retail, manicured parks, and soaring residential towers.
So he decided to build one.
The 125-year-old school is teaming with developer Brandywine Realty Trust to transform an expanse of parking lots and industrial buildings between its campus and 30th Street Station into a dense new addition to Philadelphia’s University City district of educational, medical, and research institutions.
The expansion – to be called Schuylkill Yards – is meant to accommodate a student body that has grown from fewer than 7,000 in the mid-1990s to about 26,000 today, while attracting tech firms, biomed labs, and forward-thinking start-ups to the area, Fry said in an interview before Wednesday afternoon’s announcement of the project.
“I wanted to accomplish the fact of campus development, but I wanted to do it in a broader context,” he said. “We can both expand the university, as we need, but also do something way more and build – effectively – a new mixed-use neighborhood.”