The State of University City Is Pretty Good These Days

Mr. Fox

One of the biggest changes in University City the past year has been the spike in private investment, according to Seth Budick, University City District's head of planning and economic development.

“Specifically in the form of new residential construction,” said Budick.

New units on Hamilton

Last month, UCD released its annual report, State of University City 2013/2014. University City is being stuffed with new residents and businesses and investment like John Madden's Thanksgiving Turkey. And that thing's got eight legs. University City boasts a 93% office occupancy rate and a 90% residential occupancy rate. There are 72,088 jobs, dominated by the school and hospital staffs. Of its 48,589 residents, 88% are students, pointing to the rental craze in the area. By such numbers, University City is where the future is right now. Even the number of patents issued to innovative creative companies in University City is on the rise with 57 being granted in 2008 and 134 in 2012. It's an international neighborhood where 17% of of the population is foreign born.

Some of the beds coming soon to University City

Take those numbers and consider that right now there are planned, just finished, or being constructed projects that will bring more than 4,600 new beds to University City in the next few years, according to Budick. And that's all private investment. While developments like Drexel's recently completed $97.6M Chestnut Square are anchored by the schools, they're built with private dollars. And with what seems like a steady stream of new young adults coming into University City every year, one can expect the area will continue to swell. And with all the major universities in the area expanding and the new residential building, expect retail to follow. Yes, we're suspecting a case full of additional quality eateries will be coming soon. Just look at 50th and Baltimore, where nearby, a juice cafe, ice cream shop and a sandwich shop have opened or are on the way. It tastes good out West and will likely continue to get better in the coming years.

--Lou Mancinelli