Westward Ho! Philly Fulfills its Manifest Destiny

With seven high-rise housing projects planned for the area between the western edge of Center City and the University City Science Center, Philadelphia's development axis is bending westward. The city's ed and med sectors are providing the impetus.

"High-rise construction in Philadelphia comes in waves," writes Inga Saffron. "The last big crest a decade ago brought in a handful of pricey condo towers, mainly clustered in established neighborhoods around Rittenhouse and Washington Squares. This time, the tide is rolling westward, from Center City out toward the universities, and it's looking like a tsunami."

"This stretch - from the tattered western edge of Center City to the University City Science Center - has long been an ill-defined territory, not uniformly academic, commercial, or residential," she explains. "The arrival of a couple thousand residents can't help but make these blocks feel more lived-in, and the bustle should advance the goal of knitting together the two sides of the Schuylkill."

"Although this isn't the only place in the city where high-rises are planned, the cluster tells us a lot about how Philadelphia is being reshaped by the new economy, with its focus on health care, university research, and higher ed. The seven projects are being positioned as adjuncts to the Drexel, Penn, and Science Center campuses, which are expanding with more employees, grad students, and researchers."

Full Story: Changing Skyline: Apartment towers growing toward Phila.'s west

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