Drexel Acquires Firestone Building, Key Piece of Real Estate for Its Campus Transformation
April 26, 2013
Drexel University acquired the property located at 3161-67 Market Street, a triangular-shaped parcel on the north side of Market Street between JFK Boulevard and 32nd Street that currently houses a Firestone auto repair shop. Located at the heart of Drexel’s campus, the 26,675 square-foot parcel is key to the University’s strategic and master plans, which call for the development of a superblock along Market Street that will serve as a gateway to University City from 30th Street Station.
The University purchased the parcel for $8.9 million from Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC. Under the lease agreement with Drexel, the Firestone auto repair shop will continue to operate at the location for up to three years.
“Drexel has had this strategically located property in its sights for many years,” said James Tucker, senior vice president for Student Life and Administrative Services. “With the adoption of a new 30-year Campus Master Plan in 2012, the time was right to acquire the parcel now and begin to connect the east and west sides of our campus along Market Street.”
Future plans for the site may include student housing, retail, academic space or a mixed-use development.
The acquisition supports Drexel President John A. Fry’s vision for the University to become one of academe’s most powerful engines for neighborhood improvement and regional economic growth. In June 2011, Drexel acquired a 3.6-acre lot on John F. Kennedy Boulevard that will become a gateway for its University City campus.
With the University’s proximity to Amtrak’s 30th Street Station, one of the nation’s best-connected transportation hubs, Drexel is uniquely positioned to anchor a new gateway to Philadelphia and a vibrant district for innovation. Plans for this “Innovation Neighborhood” are being spearheaded by Keith Orris, senior vice president for Corporate Relations and Economic Development, who is leading the way in seeking to attract corporate partners to this effort, and serve as Drexel’s main liaison to Amtrak, SEPTA and PennDOT.
Neighborhood initiatives include expanding security patrols around campus, providing financial incentives for employees to buy homes within key neighborhoods in West Philadelphia, adding more on-campus housing for students, partnering with neighborhood public schools and developing retail space on major streets to serve Drexel and its surrounding communities. Most recently, Drexel announced the establishment of the Dana and David Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships that will serve as a resource for sharing expertise and knowledge with members of the local community.
For more information, visit Drexel’s strategic plan website: Transforming the Modern Urban University.