Dear Drexel Students and Colleagues,

I am writing to share the news that Drexel has finalized a partnership agreement with Gattuso Development Partners (GDP) to build an 11-story, 500,000 sq. ft. LEED Gold certified research and laboratory complex designed by the one of the world’s top architectural firms, Robert A.M. Stern — the same firm that designed Gerri C. LeBow Hall and Chestnut Square — on our campus. Located at the site of Buckley Recreational Field at 33rd and Cuthbert Streets, this project will significantly upgrade Drexel’s research and innovation infrastructure, and will further advance University City’s future as one of the country’s major centers for the life sciences and biotech sectors. The anchor tenant for this building is one of the nation’s leading incubator and lab operators with numerous facilities in leading life sciences markets.

The benefits that will accrue to Drexel are significant:

  • Approximately 28,000 square feet of desperately needed space will be designated — at no cost to the University — to support teaching and research within the College of Engineering and School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems. That alone will make Drexel both more attractive to prospective students and more competitive for research grants, strengthening our position as a leading research university;
  • An additional 32,000 square feet of laboratory and office space will be made available to the University to support faculty and student entrepreneurial ventures and start-ups;
  • Street life along 33rd Street will become more vibrant with the addition of 9,700 square feet of ground level retail and restaurant space;
  • The 3200 block of Cuthbert Street immediately adjacent to the Arlen Specter US Squash Center and historic Armory will be transformed into a beautifully landscaped, pedestrian walkway that will greatly enhance the public realm on the Drexel campus; and
  • Approximately 140 underground parking spaces, with 35 spaces dedicated to Drexel, at no additional annual expense.

Concurrently, we are moving forward with plans to provide suitable and more widely accessible open space alternatives to Buckley Field, which is used for a variety of recreational activities and events. For starters we will relocate the bubble at Buckley Field, which is heavily used by our varsity athletics teams, to the Vidas Athletic Complex.

At the same time, we are proceeding with plans to create more permanent green space for community enjoyment and intramural/club sports recreational use. This summer, we will begin preparations for the demolition of Myers Residence Hall, which has long been slated for demolition in the campus master plan, and converting this 1.5-acre area to open space and playing fields. This will add a significant amount of green space right in the heart of our residential campus, while also allowing for activities that have taken place on Buckley Field to continue a short distance away.

I look forward to seeing our community enjoying more green space at the heart of campus, a pedestrian walkway at Cuthbert, and the vibrant street life that more shops and eateries will bring to 33rd Street. And I especially look forward to seeing our community engaged and energized by the state-of-the-art life sciences complex that will serve our educational, research, and civic mission so well.


John Fry

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