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Drexel and American Campus Break Ground on $170 Million Mixed-Use Development

Breaking ground for Drexel's Lancaster Avenue and 34th Street Development
Breaking ground for the Lancaster project (left to right): Mahmoud Shurbaji, president of Drexel’s Undergraduate Student Government Association; Bill Bayless, American Campus Communities president & CEO; John A. Fry, president of Drexel University; Jamie Wilhelm, American Campus Communities executive vice president; and James R.Tucker, Drexel senior vice president for Student Life and Administrative Services.

PHILADELPHIA, November 1, 2013

Drexel University and American Campus Communities celebrated the launch of the next major residential and retail milestone in University City with a ceremonial groundbreaking on Friday, Nov. 1 for the $170 million, 24-story development on Lancaster Avenue and 34th Street. The development will be the largest project in both Drexel and American Campus history and will feature student housing, retail space and a dining center. American Campus representatives and University trustees will join Drexel President John A. Fry and the Drexel community for the groundbreaking.

“We believe this development will be the genesis of a revitalized commercial corridor along Lancaster Avenue serving the University and its neighbors,” said Fry. “We’re pleased to partner with American Campus again as we fulfill our commitment to drive economic growth and improved quality of life in the city.”

Rendering of Drexel's new mixed-use development at Lanaster Avenue and 34 StreetThe 580,000-square-foot Lancaster Avenue and 34th Street development will feature apartments and suites for more than 1,300 students with 20,000 square feet of retail divided into 11 locations at the street level, as well as a student and community dining center. American Campus will manage and operate the facility under a ground lease agreement with Drexel, and at the end of the lease term the ownership will revert back to Drexel. The firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz Architects designed the new building that will be built by the Hunter Roberts Construction Group. Completion is scheduled for fall 2015.

“Drexel is an exceptional modern urban campus of the future,” said Bill Bayless, CEO of American Campus. “It is an ideal partner for American Campus and an exceedingly worthwhile investment. The values of Drexel’s leadership are evident in the responsible and collaborative manner that it has approached its own growth and development. Drexel is an active driver of neighborhood initiatives and community involvement, and a champion of University City and Philadelphia. We are proud to be partners with this University and its ambitious and optimistic vision for the future.”

An animation of the new development follows:

Drexel University - Lancaster Avenue and 34th Street Development Rendering from American Campus on Vimeo.

The Lancaster Avenue and 34th Street development is the latest in a series of collaborations between American Campus and Drexel. Chestnut Square, a mixed-use project that transformed Chestnut Street between 32nd and 33rd Streets, recently opened its doors to students. Its retail is fully occupied, with four of its eight retailers open for business and the others slated to open throughout the next few months. American Campus recently donated to Drexel the land, sub-surface and air rights to a residential building known as University Crossings, located adjacent to the University’s campus. American Campus will continue to manage the $68 million property under a ground lease agreement with Drexel. The company is also moving forward with a $22 million renovation of the building.

“Through this partnership, American Campus will use its funds and Drexel’s land to provide high-quality housing, dining, retail and amenities for our growing residential population of students, at no cost to the University,” said James R. Tucker, student life and administrative services senior vice president. “The benefit of these developments is that they allow Drexel to focus its institutional investments on academics, research and other strategic priorities.”

The projected total one-time economic impact of the upfront construction of the Lancaster Avenue and 34th Street development within the city is approximately $240 million, with an estimated 850 jobs and $37 million in earnings, according to an analysis by Econsult. The projected total one-time economic impact within Pennsylvania is approximately $370 million, with an estimated 2,700 jobs and $117 million in earnings. Total new tax revenues to the city are estimated at $2 million, and new tax revenues for Pennsylvania are projected to reach $9 million.

Ongoing operations of the development will also generate significant annual economic and fiscal impacts within the city and Pennsylvania. These are conservatively estimated to directly employ 250 people and generate $28 million in annual expenditures.

American Campus Communities is the nation's largest developer, owner and manager of high-quality student housing communities. Since 1996, American Campus has developed more than $4.2 billion in university properties. The company is a national leader in development and management of on-campus student housing, with more than 70 on-campus projects.

For more information from American Campus Communities about the Lancaster Avenue and 34th Street Development or to schedule interviews, media should contact Sarah Tober at stober@americancampus.com or 512-732-1078.  

News Media Contact

Niki Gianakaris

Director of Media Relations, University Communications

ngianakaris@drexel.edu
Phone: 215.895.6741
Mobile: 215.778.7752