science center

As Drexel University and the Penn continue to expand, as well as USciences and the University City Science Center, the neighborhood housing equation continues to change. We've covered numerous examples in the past of new construction and renovation pushing northward, into West Powelton and Mantua, with some blocks gaining tons of new structures in a very short period of time.

Take, for example, the 4000 block of Baring Street in West Powelton, which burst into our development consciousness in the last couple of years like an awakening.  More than 30 new units have been created along this block since 2011, and most recently, we were not at all surprised to find that two triplexes and one duplex are under construction between 4042-52 Baring St. at  the southeast intersection of Budd & Baring, across the street from the Elwyn Adult Program center.

Renovation activity at the Western Plaza at 30th Street Station is poised to give The Porch a new companion. But where there's been a chain link construction fence to the west of the Porch for months, there is now a temporary green wall.

“It really bothered me,” said Nate Hommel, capital projects manager at University City District, about the views of construction fences offered to visitors and passersby of the Porch by current construction. “We wanted to see what we could do to give it some new life.”

Greening the fences

The folks at UCD got to work in December thinking about how to transform the site. Last week, twelve creative construction modules were installed at the Porch side of 30th Street Station along the construction fence that runs for about fifty yards. The modules are nine-foot tall planters and include shrubbery at all eye-levels. The modules also include a graphic backdrop and tiered planting wall made of backerboard. They are self-supporting, as well, not touching the construction fence.

Market Street in West Philadelphia is undergoing a facelift. That means both new towers and new tenants realized through development by major institutions. Example A: the Science Center recently announced plans to construct its first residential tower ever at 3601 Market St., and has already broken ground at 3737 Market St. on an 11-story tower with office space, retail, and new beds for Penn Presbyterian. Example B: The City recently demolished a string of mixed-use buildings near 46th & Market, right next to the El Station to make way for an development from the Enterprise Center.