Construction Notice: Major Third-Party Developments Have Begun on Campus
January 19, 2023
Dear members of the Drexel community,
I am writing with an update on two major third-party development projects that have begun on Drexel’s campus.
On the 3000 block of Chestnut Street, on what used to be Drexel’s “F” parking lot, Spark Therapeutics has started excavation for their Gene Therapy Innovation Center (GTIC). The project represents an extraordinary commitment by Spark to create a gene therapy manufacturing hub in the City of Philadelphia, adjacent to our core campus. Meanwhile, on the 3200 block of Cuthbert Street, next to the Armory, Gattuso Development Partners has initiated demolition and excavation for a highly advanced, 11-story building, primarily for bio-science, with Drexel eventually occupying two of the floors for academic functions.
Both projects are part of the University’s plan, in partnership with third-party developers, to establish an ecosystem of innovation around the campus that will support student co-ops and career networks, as well as collaborative research with our faculty.
While these developments are exciting, they also come with temporary disruptions during the construction period. Within the next several weeks, both projects hope to receive street permits that will allow them to extend their construction fence lines onto public property, which will both protect the public and ensure safe construction logistics. Please use caution when traveling around construction zones and follow all posted signage; you may need to adjust your normal walking routes to avoid sidewalk closures. We will work with our partners to identify the earliest possible times during construction when affected public space can be restored.
At 3201 Cuthbert, the development plan includes substantial tree replacement and augmentation of the public landscapes. When the project is complete, expect to see a beautifully landscaped new pedestrian passage along Cuthbert Street, new retail along 33rd Street, tree planting on all four streets surrounding the project, and the removal of overhead wires on 32nd Street. Some of the existing trees are being re-evaluated by an independent arborist for their ability to thrive after construction. If the arborist determines that this can be accomplished, precautions will be taken during construction to protect those trees, but if not, the developer has committed to replace those trees with mature specimens of appropriate street trees, per the City’s standards.
Construction is always disruptive. But as has been demonstrated with emerging development at Schuylkill Yards and uCity Square, the results will be transformative for our university and our educational and research missions.
Vice President, Real Estate and Facilities