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University City is on the rise.
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Mapping University City’s development boom

These are the biggest projects currently in the works

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University City is on the rise.
| Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in November 2016 and has since been updated with the most recent information.

University City has been booming for years now, transforming the west banks of the Schuylkill River on a daily basis. And the eds and meds hotbed claims it's only getting started.

That's according to University City District's latest report, the State of University City 2018, which just dropped this week. The 88-page booklet is stacked with stats about the neighborhood's current state and future, including the fact that it experienced a staggering 1.5 million square feet of new development in 2016. (In 2015, that number was 2.6 million). In fact, the number of construction permits in this neighborhood has skyrocketed more than 500 percent(!) from pre-recession levels.

Dozens projects big and small are still in the works, and we’ve mapped the largest ones here. Some caveats: These projects are listed from west to east and they are 100,000 square feet or more.

Know of another big project planned for University City that's not on this list? Leave a comment or hit the tip line.

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West Lofts

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The former West Philadelphia High School has been transformed into West Lofts, and folks have already moved into their new classrooms-turned-apartments as of July. But construction continues on this 442,200-square-foot school, and in the end there will be a total of 268 apartments. Future plans also include turning the stunning auditorium into a co-working space.

Rendering courtesy of West Lofts

USciences Residence Hall

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Design Collective is behind the design of this mixed-use building, which will sit on the site of the shuttered Alexander Wilson Public School. The mostly brick building will be six stories tall and feature 426 student beds, study rooms on the corners, and ground-floor retail. It’s expected to finish construction in the winter of 2018-19.

Rendering by Design Collective

Campus Commerce Center

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Campus Apartments continues work on the second phase of its development at 41st and Walnut, which will add a 130,000-square-foot office building to the 136-room Homewood Suites hotel at 4109 Walnut. It’s expected to finish construction in 2020.

via Google Streetview

3.0 University Place

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When all is said and done, the 5-story, 170,000-square-foot 3.0 University Place says it will be the world's first commercial office building that is certified LEED V4 Platinum. Construction is expected to wrap up in 2019.

Ronald McDonald House

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Renderings of the new-and-improved Ronald McDonald House were revealed in April 2016. Two Frank Furness-designed homes had to be demolished to make room for the expansion, which will bring more overnight rooms to accommodate more families. The renovation is expected to finish in late 2018 or early 2019.

Courtesy of the Ronald McDonald House

Hamilton Court Apartments

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The renovation of the historic Hamilton Court Apartments by the Post Brothers has been ongoing, and the apartments have already been updated. When all is said and done in spring 2018, there will be more than 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurants, plus a new 10,000-square-foot amenity facility designed by Coscia Moos Architecture.

Pennovation Center

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The innovation tech hub Pennovation Center has been up and running in Grays Ferry for more than a year now, but the University of Pennsylvania’s plans for the 23-acre site are still ongoing. The old DuPont campus has plenty of other buildings that will likely be repurposed into more space for Pennovation.

Courtesy of KSS Architects

New College House West

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Penn is building another College House (a.k.a. dorm), this time at the corner of 40th Street, Walnut Street, and Locust Walk. Designed by Bohlin Cywynski Jackson, the 250,000-square-foot building will feature a north tower on Walnut, with two shorter wings to the east and west of it that reach Locust Walk. The goal is to break ground in spring 2018 and open in fall 2021.

Rendering by Bohlin Cywynski Jackson

Penn Medicine’s Center for Healthcare Technology

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This 18-story tower broke ground in May 2017. The building, which will serve as a spot for corporate functions, will be a white, pre-cast concrete structure built in two phases. The first phase will result in an 8-story building, while the second phase will bring the building up to 18 stories. The first phase should wrap up in early 2019.

3675 Market St

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The first new building at uCity Square, a 6.5 million-square-foot mixed-use community in University City, broke ground in January 2017. All 342,000 square feet of this 14-story tower will serve as a retail, business, office, research, and development space. It’s expected to finish up in early 2018.

The exterior of 3675 Market Street in Philadelphia. The building is tall and the facade is glass with many windows. Renderings by ZGF Architects

3700 Lancaster Ave

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This 300,000-square-foot mixed-use is slated for the corner of Powelton and Lancaster and will be the second residential project for uCity Square. Designed by Erdy McHenry, it will feature 300 market-rate studio, 1-, and 2-bedroom apartments and retail. It won’t deliver until spring 2020, though.

Rendering by Erdy McHenry Architecture

Perelman Center for Political Science & Economics

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Construction began in December 2015 on this new center at 36th and Walnut streets that will rehab the existing Philadelphia Trust Building with a glassy addition. It’ll merge Penn’s Political Science Department and Department of Economics. Expect its debut in spring 2018.

Rendering by KPMB

The Pavilion at Penn Medicine

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The Foster+Partners-designed Pavilion will be replacing the already demolished Penn Tower. Construction began on the 17-story project in May 2017, and its July concrete pour was the largest in Philly’s history. The Pavilion will include 500 patient rooms and four floors of operating rooms. Foster+Partners’ renderings for the project were first revealed in November 2016. Construction is set to finish up in 2021.

Penn Museum

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On the first of November, the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archeology and Anthropology (i.e. Penn Museum) broke ground on its first major renovation in nearly a century. The first phase of the makeover, led by Gluckman Tang Architects, will make the museum lighter, brighter, and just more easy to navigate. There will also be 40,000 square feet of new-and-improved galleries. The first phase is expected to finish in 2019.

Rendering by Gluckman Tang Architects

Summer12

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Now that construction on the 16-story apartment tower Vue32 is officially complete, now begins work on the 12 for-sale townhomes at the foot of the building. Summer12 townhomes range from $375,000 to $425,000 and is the second phase of the site’s larger mixed-use development by Radnor Property Group. 

Renderings by Erdy McHenry Architecture

Schuylkill Yards

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Plans for Schuylkill Yards, a joint $3.5 billion venture between Drexel and Brandywine Realty Trust, were announced to much fanfare in March 2016. The plans for the 14-acre innovation hub are on a 15- to 20-year master plan, but the first big move was made with the recent groundbreaking of Drexel Square, a 1.3-acre park that will be considered the centerpiece of Schuylkill Yards.

A rendering of Schuylkill Yards, surrounded by glassy towers. Renderings by SHoP Architects and West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture

30th Street Station District

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Scaffolding has been up at 30th Street Station for a couple of years now, but that's just scratching at the surface of what's in store for the neighborhood. After years of discussions and community input, the 30th Street Station District Plan was revealed in June and involves major renovations to the station itself, 40 acres of open space, pedestrian bridges across the Schuylkill, and the new neighborhood over the Rail Yards. 

Expected completion: 2050

A rendering of the 30th Street Station District master plan. Renderings courtesy of Amtrak

West Lofts

Rendering courtesy of West Lofts

The former West Philadelphia High School has been transformed into West Lofts, and folks have already moved into their new classrooms-turned-apartments as of July. But construction continues on this 442,200-square-foot school, and in the end there will be a total of 268 apartments. Future plans also include turning the stunning auditorium into a co-working space.

Rendering courtesy of West Lofts

USciences Residence Hall

Rendering by Design Collective

Design Collective is behind the design of this mixed-use building, which will sit on the site of the shuttered Alexander Wilson Public School. The mostly brick building will be six stories tall and feature 426 student beds, study rooms on the corners, and ground-floor retail. It’s expected to finish construction in the winter of 2018-19.

Rendering by Design Collective

Campus Commerce Center

via Google Streetview

Campus Apartments continues work on the second phase of its development at 41st and Walnut, which will add a 130,000-square-foot office building to the 136-room Homewood Suites hotel at 4109 Walnut. It’s expected to finish construction in 2020.

via Google Streetview

3.0 University Place

When all is said and done, the 5-story, 170,000-square-foot 3.0 University Place says it will be the world's first commercial office building that is certified LEED V4 Platinum. Construction is expected to wrap up in 2019.

Ronald McDonald House

Courtesy of the Ronald McDonald House

Renderings of the new-and-improved Ronald McDonald House were revealed in April 2016. Two Frank Furness-designed homes had to be demolished to make room for the expansion, which will bring more overnight rooms to accommodate more families. The renovation is expected to finish in late 2018 or early 2019.

Courtesy of the Ronald McDonald House

Hamilton Court Apartments

The renovation of the historic Hamilton Court Apartments by the Post Brothers has been ongoing, and the apartments have already been updated. When all is said and done in spring 2018, there will be more than 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurants, plus a new 10,000-square-foot amenity facility designed by Coscia Moos Architecture.

Pennovation Center

Courtesy of KSS Architects

The innovation tech hub Pennovation Center has been up and running in Grays Ferry for more than a year now, but the University of Pennsylvania’s plans for the 23-acre site are still ongoing. The old DuPont campus has plenty of other buildings that will likely be repurposed into more space for Pennovation.

Courtesy of KSS Architects

New College House West

Rendering by Bohlin Cywynski Jackson

Penn is building another College House (a.k.a. dorm), this time at the corner of 40th Street, Walnut Street, and Locust Walk. Designed by Bohlin Cywynski Jackson, the 250,000-square-foot building will feature a north tower on Walnut, with two shorter wings to the east and west of it that reach Locust Walk. The goal is to break ground in spring 2018 and open in fall 2021.

Rendering by Bohlin Cywynski Jackson

Penn Medicine’s Center for Healthcare Technology

This 18-story tower broke ground in May 2017. The building, which will serve as a spot for corporate functions, will be a white, pre-cast concrete structure built in two phases. The first phase will result in an 8-story building, while the second phase will bring the building up to 18 stories. The first phase should wrap up in early 2019.

3675 Market St

The exterior of 3675 Market Street in Philadelphia. The building is tall and the facade is glass with many windows. Renderings by ZGF Architects

The first new building at uCity Square, a 6.5 million-square-foot mixed-use community in University City, broke ground in January 2017. All 342,000 square feet of this 14-story tower will serve as a retail, business, office, research, and development space. It’s expected to finish up in early 2018.

The exterior of 3675 Market Street in Philadelphia. The building is tall and the facade is glass with many windows. Renderings by ZGF Architects

3700 Lancaster Ave

Rendering by Erdy McHenry Architecture

This 300,000-square-foot mixed-use is slated for the corner of Powelton and Lancaster and will be the second residential project for uCity Square. Designed by Erdy McHenry, it will feature 300 market-rate studio, 1-, and 2-bedroom apartments and retail. It won’t deliver until spring 2020, though.

Rendering by Erdy McHenry Architecture

Perelman Center for Political Science & Economics

Rendering by KPMB

Construction began in December 2015 on this new center at 36th and Walnut streets that will rehab the existing Philadelphia Trust Building with a glassy addition. It’ll merge Penn’s Political Science Department and Department of Economics. Expect its debut in spring 2018.

Rendering by KPMB

The Pavilion at Penn Medicine

The Foster+Partners-designed Pavilion will be replacing the already demolished Penn Tower. Construction began on the 17-story project in May 2017, and its July concrete pour was the largest in Philly’s history. The Pavilion will include 500 patient rooms and four floors of operating rooms. Foster+Partners’ renderings for the project were first revealed in November 2016. Construction is set to finish up in 2021.

Penn Museum

Rendering by Gluckman Tang Architects

On the first of November, the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archeology and Anthropology (i.e. Penn Museum) broke ground on its first major renovation in nearly a century. The first phase of the makeover, led by Gluckman Tang Architects, will make the museum lighter, brighter, and just more easy to navigate. There will also be 40,000 square feet of new-and-improved galleries. The first phase is expected to finish in 2019.

Rendering by Gluckman Tang Architects

Summer12

Renderings by Erdy McHenry Architecture

Now that construction on the 16-story apartment tower Vue32 is officially complete, now begins work on the 12 for-sale townhomes at the foot of the building. Summer12 townhomes range from $375,000 to $425,000 and is the second phase of the site’s larger mixed-use development by Radnor Property Group. 

Renderings by Erdy McHenry Architecture

Schuylkill Yards

A rendering of Schuylkill Yards, surrounded by glassy towers. Renderings by SHoP Architects and West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture

Plans for Schuylkill Yards, a joint $3.5 billion venture between Drexel and Brandywine Realty Trust, were announced to much fanfare in March 2016. The plans for the 14-acre innovation hub are on a 15- to 20-year master plan, but the first big move was made with the recent groundbreaking of Drexel Square, a 1.3-acre park that will be considered the centerpiece of Schuylkill Yards.

A rendering of Schuylkill Yards, surrounded by glassy towers. Renderings by SHoP Architects and West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture

30th Street Station District

A rendering of the 30th Street Station District master plan. Renderings courtesy of Amtrak

Scaffolding has been up at 30th Street Station for a couple of years now, but that's just scratching at the surface of what's in store for the neighborhood. After years of discussions and community input, the 30th Street Station District Plan was revealed in June and involves major renovations to the station itself, 40 acres of open space, pedestrian bridges across the Schuylkill, and the new neighborhood over the Rail Yards. 

Expected completion: 2050

A rendering of the 30th Street Station District master plan. Renderings courtesy of Amtrak