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Major Drexel Project Updates as of December 2020
Main Building Roof and Skylight: The University is undertaking exterior renovations to the Main Building, including roof system replacement and associated repairs, replacement of the primary skylight, and a new lightning protection system. The project is under construction, with substantial completion expected in December 2020. In addition, the University is taking advantage of the presence of on-site contractors and a reduced building occupancy to install a lift to provide greater accessibility to the recently refreshed Main Auditorium; this work will be completed in January.
Façade Renovations: In keeping with both the University’s goals of maintaining its buildings and citywide mandates for regular repairs to facades over six stories or 65 feet in height, the facades of Caneris Hall, North Hall, Pearlstein Business Learning Center, and Bossone Research Enterprise Center were completed this fall. Preparations for the next round of required inspections and repairs are underway.
Powel Elementary/Science Leadership Academy Middle School: Drexel and Wexford are constructing the Powel/SLA-MS building on the same site as the Academic Tower. Powel/SLA-MS will be leased to the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) over a long-term lease with Drexel, and the SDP will bear responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the building and grounds. The building is nearing completion and on track for spring 2021 occupancy. Read about the project in these articles in DrexelNow and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Third-Party Project Updates as of December 2020
Arlen Specter US Squash Center (US Squash): Construction is in progress to convert the Armory into a national center for US Squash. The project involves renovating the Armory’s interior, creating 20 courts, athletic training facilities, audience amenities and community use spaces. The project is expected to reach substantial completion this winter. Click here for more details.
College of Medicine Location at Tower Health (developer: Equus Capital Partners): Tower Health is constructing a 150,000-square-foot building for the Drexel University College of Medicine at Tower Health in West Reading. On behalf of Drexel, Tower Health is partnering with Equus Capital Partners to redevelop a site located 0.6 miles from Reading Hospital. The project is under construction and on track for completion in time for the 2021-22 academic year.
Drexel Academic Tower at University City High School Site (Wexford Science & Technology): Wexford is developing a new Academic Tower on the former University City High School site that will house the College of Nursing and Health Professions and various academic and administrative functions of the College of Medicine, relocating them to University City under a long-term lease agreement with Wexford. The building will total about 450,000 rentable square feet, within which Drexel will have an approximate 29-year lease. Construction began in July, with a substantial completion delivery expected mid-2022. Read more in this DrexelNow article.
Schuylkill Yards (Brandywine Realty Trust): Brandywine has engaged a specialist design firm to lay out a food hall in the Market Street retail space. Spark Therapeutics’ latest schedule calls for completion of the third- and fourth-floor fit-outs by the end of 2020, with occupancy in the first quarter of 2021. They are completing design documents for the lobby upgrade and are projecting completion within the same timeframe. Finally, SEPTA’s headhouse construction is fully underway.
Brandywine has completed the design development for the initial two towers on JFK Boulevard. The West tower (approximately 500K SF) will mainly consist of residential units with office space, a minor compliment of research laboratory, and retail space on the lower floors, and the East tower (approximately 750K SF) will consist of large corporate office and possibly laboratory uses, with retail on the ground floor. The first project, the West Tower, has experienced delays due to COVID-19, but Brandywine aims to start as soon as possible.
In addition to alternative laboratory presence in the East tower as well as the West, Brandywine is in design development for a new stand-alone lab building at the corner of 31st and Market Streets. The architectural firm Gensler has completed design development documents for this new standalone research facility, to be located at the intersection of JFK and Market Streets, on the former Santander Bank building site, in combination with the 3101R parking garage, across from the Drexel-owned Firestone building site. The building will accommodate approximately 450,000 square feet of lab and lab-support spaces.