Radical University-Led Project Could Transform Philadelphia

Drexel University is proceeding with a study to determine the feasibility of capping and building over the Schuylkill Rail Yards, a transformational project that could unite West Philadelphia with the Center City, reports Susan Snyder.

The university-funded million-dollar-plus feasibility study, which is being undertaken with Amtrak and SEPTA, and being led by Drexel University's "entrepreneurial" president John A. Fry, is just the first step in determining what options are available for the 96-acre rail-yard property. Past visions for the yards have included "a baseball stadium, convention center, amusement grounds, and office and residential properties."

If the numerous technical challenges of capping and developing over one of the most active rail corridors in the country can be overcome, Fry sees the project as "the basis for Philadelphia's innovation economy for the next 100 years."

"Simultaneously," says Snyder, "Drexel is moving forward with plans for an 'innovation neighborhood' abutting 30th Street Station and hopes for a variety of collaborative projects, including potentially luring and partnering with an international university, similar to the plans between Cornell University and Israel's Technion for New York City.

The innovation neighborhood, expected to include five million square feet of commercial office space, research laboratories, student housing, and a hotel, will proceed no matter the outcome of the feasibility study, Fry said."

 

Full Story: Drexel looks to branch out over rail yards

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