Drexel University and American Campus to Break Ground on $170 Million Mixed-Use Development

by Katie Sloan

Philadelphia — ACC: The Lancaster Avenue and 34th Street development will be the largest project in Drexel history.

Chestnut Square opened this year.Philadelphia — Drexel University and American Campus Communities have begun construction on a 580,000-square-foot, 24-story, mixed-use project on Lancaster Avenue and 34th Street that will include apartments and suites for more than 1,300 students with 20,000 square feet of retail divided into 11 locations at the street level, as well as a student and community dining center. American Campus will manage and operate the facility under a ground lease agreement with Drexel, and at the end of the lease term, the ownership will revert back to Drexel. The firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz Architects designed the new building that will be built by the Hunter Roberts Construction Group. It will be complete by fall 2015.

The Lancaster Avenue and 34th Street development is the latest in a series of collaborations between American Campus and Drexel. Chestnut Square, a mixed-use project on Chestnut Street between 32nd and 33rd streets, recently opened its doors to students. Its retail is fully leased, with four of its eight retailers open for business and the others expected to open throughout the next few months. American Campus recently donated to Drexel the land, sub-surface and air rights to a residential building known as University Crossings, located adjacent to the university’s campus. American Campus will continue to manage this $68 million property under a ground lease agreement with Drexel. The company is also moving forward with a $22 million renovation of the building.

“We believe this development will be the genesis of a revitalized commercial corridor along Lancaster Avenue serving the university and its neighbors,” says Drexel President John A. Fry in a release.

“Drexel is an exceptional modern urban campus of the future,” says American Campus CEO Bill Bayless. “The values of Drexel’s leadership are evident in the responsible and collaborative manner that it has approached its own growth and development. Drexel is an active driver of neighborhood initiatives and community involvement and a champion of University City and Philadelphia. We are proud to be partners with this university and its ambitious and optimistic vision for the future.”

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