Drexel and Wexford Purchase University City High School Site

Image of the exterior of the University City High School

Drexel University City Development, LLC, the joint venture between Drexel and Wexford Science & Technology, LLC, officially closed today on the purchase of a 14-acre site from the School District of Philadelphia that formerly housed the University City High School, the Charles Drew Elementary School and The Walnut Center.

“This development project aligns perfectly with our commitment to serving as an engine of economic growth and development in West Philadelphia and with our desire to improve public education in the neighborhoods surrounding our campus,” said John A. Fry, president of Drexel University. “It represents an exciting and rare opportunity to convert an underutilized and vacant property into a vibrant center of activity that will meet the needs and achieves the priorities of the surrounding community.”

The development plan for the site totals more than 2.7 million square feet and includes a potential K-8 public school surrounded by residential, retail and recreational space as well as laboratory and research office space and parking. Upon full completion, the project will cost almost $1 billion, will have created 4,300 construction jobs, will house 3,700 employees and will produce substantial economic and fiscal benefits to both the City and the Commonwealth.

“Wexford Science & Technology is excited about partnering with Drexel to continue the transformation of the University City neighborhood into a model Innovation District for the community and entire city of Philadelphia,” said Joseph Reagan, vice president of Development for Wexford Science & Technology in Philadelphia. “Our vision for the University City High School site is to develop a dynamic mixed-use site that brings together residential, retail and new laboratory and office space surrounding public open space that the entire community will be proud to be in their backyard.”  

During construction, Econsult estimates the Philadelphia impact to include $1.2 billion in total expenditures; 4,300 jobs; and $11.2 million in total tax revenues. After completion, Econsult projects an annual Philadelphia impact of $711 million in total expenditures; 5,600 in total jobs; $20 million in total tax revenue to the city and an additional $7 million of tax revenue to the School District of Philadelphia.

Drexel’s partner in the joint venture, Wexford Science and Technology, LLC, a BioMed Realty Trust company, a is one of the largest providers of real estate solutions to for-profit and not-for-profit institutions, including universities, university-related research parks and health care systems.

Wexford collaborates with its client institutions to create and build Knowledge Communities, which are vibrant, mixed-use, amenity-rich environments where innovation thrives.