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Schuylkill Yards: Innovation with Inclusion

Drexel University Announces 20-year Plan to Create Innovation Neighborhood in University City

Schuykill Yards

March 16, 2016

On Wednesday, March 2nd, Drexel University President, John Fry announced plans for the Schuylkill Yards project to a packed, tented area at One Drexel Plaza. Over 500 people showed up for the press conference. Schuylkill Yards is a 20-year, $3.5 billion dollar project between Drexel University and master developer, Brandywine Realty Trust. The development spans 14-acres and will consist of 5 million square feet of mixed-use space. The area will be more than just a corporate campus. This project consists of entrepreneurial spaces, educational facilities, laboratories, offices, residential and retail spaces, and more. Development for Schuylkill Yards begins later this year with Drexel Square, a large open space reminiscent of the public squares created as part of William Penn's initial plans for the city.

Schuylkill Yards adds another dimension to Philadelphia's increasing status as a technology and innovation hub. Situated in between the political hub of Washington D.C. and the financial hub of New York City, or as President Fry, says, "The 50-yard line of the east coast." Philadelphia aims to be the go-to city for entrepreneurial activity and innovation in the Northeast. Alongside Philadelphia, this project bolsters Drexel University and University City as a larger home for entrepreneurs. Drexel is investing in the Philadelphia region and serves as the backbone of the University City innovative ecosystem. The Schuylkill Yards proximity to Amtrak's 30th Street station, the third busiest passenger rail station in the country and the city's largest, bolsters accessibility for not only local Philadelphia residents but people from all over the country.

Innovation Before After

This project will have a strong focus on inclusion of the neighborhood and Philadelphia residents. Around 10,000 construction jobs are expected to be created and 15,000 employees and residents will be drawn to the new development once completed. The inclusive nature of Schuylkill Yards is important to both Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust. While massive city development projects often tend to drive out and displace the community, Schuylkill Yards aims to strengthen the nearby Powelton Village and Mantua neighborhoods with jobs and a revitalized, innovative space that residents of these neighborhoods can be a part of. The initiatives behind Schuylkill Yards are truly groundbreaking due to their inclusive process and hope to change what revitalizing a city looks like.

Along with revitalizing surrounding University City neighborhoods, Schuylkill Yards will be an attraction for startup companies, residents, and innovators throughout the whole country. Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust are working hard to help change not only the way that Philadelphia sees itself, but the way the rest of the country sees Philadelphia, to paraphrase Brandywine Realty President & CEO, Gerard Sweeney. The Schuylkill Yards project joins other recent University City developments by Brandywine Realty Trust, like the Cira Center and Evo Building, among others.

The Schuylkill Yards project is not just an investment into University City, but an investment into the future of Philadelphia. This project begins at a time when Philadelphia enjoys increasing exposure as a city on the rise; a place where innovation happens. As work on the innovation neighborhood officially starts, Drexel University and Schuylkill yards leave a revolutionary, ambitious mark on the city.

To learn more about Schuylkill Yards, Drexel University, and the Brandywine Realty Trust-led development team, please visit:

Christian Larsen, Communications, Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship