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Major Drexel Project Updates as of March 2020
Academy of Natural Sciences Library and New Exhibit Hall Renovation: The renovation of the Academy of Natural Sciences’ former Library Reading Room into an exhibit space is complete, and the users are in the process of moving in. This project also consisted of consolidating the Academy’s library functions adjacent to the Reading Room, and the relocation and enlargement of the Wolf Rare Book Room to improve climate control for the archives.
Bentley Residence Hall Expansion: With the help of a $5 million gift from Greg S. Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems, and his wife Caroline, the University is expanding Bentley Hall, with American Campus Communities serving as the developer. Construction is in progress on an approximately 11,500 square foot, two-story addition to provide critical space to relocate the Pennoni Honors College into the heart of the campus. Completion is expected in spring 2020.
Center for Automation Technology (CAT) Renovations: Construction of approximately 5,685 square feet of wet research laboratories and technical support spaces for the College of Engineering in the CAT is substantially complete. The renovations include two new wet research laboratories on the first floor for Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, one on the second floor for Materials Engineering, and two on the third floor for Chemical and Biological Engineering. Occupancy of the laboratories and technical support spaces began in January 2020.
Main Building Roof and Skylight: The University is preparing to undertake exterior renovations to the Main Building, including roof system replacement and associated repairs, replacement of the primary skylight, and a new lightning protection system. Contractors are expected to arrive on site by the end of March to begin the renovations, with completion expected in late fall.
Powel Elementary/Science Leadership Academy Middle School: Drexel and Wexford are designing and 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. Design is complete, and the building is under construction. A formal groundbreaking was held on December 9. Project completion is targeted for spring 2021 occupancy. Read about the project in these articles in DrexelNow and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Third-Party Project Updates as of March 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. Construction is planned to be substantially complete in early fall 2020 to host the US Open Squash Tournament. Click here for more details.
College of Medicine Location at Tower Health (developer: Equus Capital Partners): Tower Health is planning to construct 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 building is targeted to be operational for the 2021-22 academic year. SLAM Collective is the architect. Construction has begun on core and shell, and construction documents for the fit-out of educational spaces are 90% complete.
Drexel Academic Tower at University City High School Site (Wexford Science & Technology): Wexford will develop 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. The construction of this facility is expected to begin during spring of 2020, with a substantial completion delivery of mid-2022. Read more in this DrexelNow article.
Schuylkill Yards (Brandywine Realty Trust): Spark Therapeutics has possession of the former Bulletin Building, now known as 3025 Market Street. Installation of the new east façade is underway, and construction is nearing completion. This work and the removal and construction of a new head house by SEPTA, which began in January 2020, will form the Schuylkill Yards Gateway. Meanwhile, Brandywine has completed the design development for the initial two towers on JFK Boulevard. The West tower (approximately 500K SF) will consist of mainly residential units with office 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. As an alternative to laboratory presence in the East tower, Brandywine is considering a new stand-alone lab building. They are expected to begin construction on the West tower in spring 2020, and construction of the East tower thereafter, depending upon the closing of a large corporate tenant. These structures will take 30 and 36 months, respectively, to complete.