On February 21 Drexel University and Texas-based American Campus Communities (ACC) will break ground on a 361,200-square-foot mixed use complex that will serve as a vibrant gateway for Drexel University and University City. Scheduled for completion in September 2013, the $97.6 million development was designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects and, according to an official statement released last week by ACC, will revitalize Drexel University’s campus and the surrounding community by combining dynamic urban retail with high-quality student housing.
The new development between 32nd and 33rd Streets will include two eight-story buildings fronting Chestnut Street, with an open entry corridor to the adjacent Creese Student Center. A 19-story tower at the corner of Chestnut and 32nd streets will offer housing units for students and street-level retail space. The development will offer a total of 869 student housing units with both shared and private accommodation options, 11 retail spaces and 14,800 square feet of community space that will include a social lounge with gaming area, a fitness center furnished with modern workout equipment, a meeting space, a theater and laundry facilities.
As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, this is the first of three similar projects that Drexel University hopes to create over the next five years at an estimated cost of $800 million. Together, the three projects would double the number of student housing units on the campus, which currently provides 4,250 beds. Future expansion plans include a new 12-story building for the Business College and an urban center for the College of Media Arts and Design; both facilities were included in a development plan drafted in 2007 but Drexel University decided to focus on creating more housing units and reduce the stress and student presence in the surrounding neighborhoods.