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Drexel Project Updates as of October 2021
Biowall Renovations: The Biowall, the centerpiece of Drexel University’s Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building, has been undergoing renovations since August 2021. The five-story plant wall has been removed while work is done to install a new lighting system, waterproofing and water filtration system. The flooring, lights and support rail for maintenance are expected to be completed by early November, with the plants returning to the structure in late winter.
Chestnut Street Crosswalk: The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) review process is ongoing for the design of a new mid-block crosswalk between 32nd and 33rd Streets to improve pedestrian safety. Construction of the crosswalk will be federally funded by a $1 million grant administered through the PennDOT Transportation Alternatives Program. The project is going through the normal reviews at PennDOT.
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, professionals have been engaged to inspect and document repairs for a series of buildings with inspection reports due in June 2022. Construction is in progress at 3201 Arch Street, Nesbitt Hall, Stratton Hall, Van Rensselaer Hall, General Services Building, and Academic Building.
HVAC Replacements: The Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center, Ross Commons, and parts of the Main Building will all be undergoing HVAC upgrades to replace units that have reached the end of their useful life beginning in spring 2022.
Kelly Hall Renovation and Expansion: Drexel, in partnership with American Campus Communities (ACC), is working on the renovation and expansion of Kelly Hall. Kelly Hall, a 400-bed undergraduate residence hall on the University City Campus, is receiving an 86,000 square foot renovation and expansion to provide additional living community amenities, including a new student green space along SPangler Walk, a new Academic Success Center, renovated neighborhood lounges with kitchenettes and study space, and reconfiguration and replacement of all floor bathrooms, converted to be gender inclusive. Design for the project is complete, and early work began in September.
Main Building Repairs and Updates: The interior of the Main Building ceiling will be repaired and restored starting in mid-October, with completion expected in late January 2022. During that time, the Great Court will be scaffolded, but all building entrances, stairs, corridors and offices will remain open. Additional upcoming work on Main includes the replacement of its cooling tower beginning in late winter 2021/early spring 2022.
Vidas Friel House Boiler Upgrade: The existing boiler and associated piping for Vidas Friel House will be removed, and fixtures will be installed in April 2022. Construction drawings have been completed, and a mechanical contractor has been selected for the project.
Third-Party Project Updates as of October 2021
Drexel University Health Sciences Building (Wexford Science & Technology): Wexford is developing a new health sciences building 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 460,000 rentable square feet, within which Drexel will have an approximate 29-year lease. Construction began in July 2020, with substantial completion delivery expected mid-2022. Real Estate and Facilities is coordinating with both colleges on the best timing for their move-in once the project is substantially complete. The College of Nursing and Health Professions will be the first to occupy the building, for fall 2022. Read more in this DrexelNow article.
Schuylkill Yards (Brandywine Realty Trust): Brandywine is nearing substantial completion of current renovations in the Bulletin Building. Spark Therapeutics is finalizing the fit out of floors 3 and 4. The main lobby is currently under renovation. SEPTA's Headhouse adjacent to Drexel Square has been demolished and is under construction.
Brandywine Realty Trust and Drexel University marked the commencement of construction of 3025 JFK, the first vertical development within Schuylkill Yards, with a groundbreaking ceremony on June 24 featuring state and local dignitaries and project partners. The 570,000 square foot mixed-use building, dubbed The West Tower at Schuylkill Yards, will add a mix of residential rental units, life science and innovation office space, retail, and indoor/outdoor amenity spaces. Construction on 3025 JFK commenced in March 2021 and is anticipated for completion October 2023. Read more in this press release.
In addition to some laboratory presence in the West Tower, Brandywine is preparing for a new stand-alone lab building at the corner of 31st and Market Streets (3151 Market Street). The architectural firm Gensler has completed construction 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. Zoning and building permits are being secured now and are anticipated to be complete at the end of April 2021. The building will accommodate approximately 450,000 SF of lab and lab-support spaces. Brandywine is actively negotiating with a significant lead tenant from the bio-science field. Groundbreaking for the building is expected this fall.