Phase I of the construction of Schuylkill Yards, a 14-acre development master-planned by Brandywine Realty Trust in conjunction with Drexel University, began on Wednesday.
The first phase of the $3.5 billion multi-year project involves creating a 1.3 acre community park, called Drexel Square, at the corner of 30th and Market streets, reinventing the former Bulletin Building and develop two of the towers on JFK Boulevard.
“All great cities have great public spaces," said Drexel University President, John Fry. "Drexel Square will be Philadelphia’s next signature square – a sixth square adding to the five originally created by William Penn. Drexel Square is the keystone to the larger transformative development project at Schuylkill Yards, conceived by Drexel University and brought to life through a partnership with Brandywine Realty Trust."
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Designed to unite Center City, Schuylkill Yards will also produce 4.6 acres of entrepreneurial space, educational facilities, laboratories, offices, retail and residential spaces, hospitality venues, and open public spaces.
Its goal over the course of the next 15-20 years is to bring Philadelphia a next-generation innovation community complete with a combination of repurposed buildings, new high-rises with world-class design, and a diverse network of public spaces programmed for regular community engagement and enjoyment.
Along with Schuylkill Yards’ groundbreaking, Brandywine plans to implement a $5.6 million neighborhood engagement program focused on small business development, job creation, and affordable housing.
“Today we take the first steps in making this large-scale innovation community a reality," said Jerry Sweeney, President and CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust. "As Brandywine continues to expand the West Philadelphia skyline, we do so with a forward-thinking, inclusive approach to the future. We embrace the changing habits of how people are living, creating, working and spending their time. We are proud that our first project in Schuylkill Yards will deliver a green public gathering space where the community can connect, interact and share experiences."
To help in the development of Schuylkill Yards, Brandywine Realty Trust leads an experience team including developer Gotham Organization, Inc., Longfellow Real Estate Partners, SHoP Architects, and West 8 Landscape Architects.
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