Bah-dah-bah-bah-bahhhh, we’re loving it…“it” in this case being all of the McDonald’s related development news coming out lately. Let’s add the McDonald’s at 3935 Walnut St. to the list now, as this low-rise building that’s stood on Penn‘s campus for 50 some years is in store for some Super Sizing. There has been an incredible amount of development in the greater University City area as of late, and it appears that there’s more to come. Let’s check out the corner at 40th & Walnut and get a better look.

The soon-to-be-demoed McDonald's forming quite the architectural trio with its neighbors

According to an article from the Daily Pennsylvanian, Penn plans to tear down the old school McDonald’s and replace it with a six-story office building…with a ground floor McDonald’s. This 50K sqft building will start construction late this year or early next year, with plans to wrap things up by fall 2024. Mosaic Development Partners are the lead developers for this project. The design features ample glass on the first two floors with upper floors consisting mostly of multi-depth brick. No tenants have been finalized yet, but look for some sort of student services offering to take at least some of the office space. Let’s check out those renderings from an unnamed architect.

Looking north up 40th St. at the proposed building
Looking west down Walnut
40th St. facade shows off the varied depths of the brick

This rendering leaves us feeling a bit cold, to be honest. It is striking how similar this design is to another project we covered in 2015 that sits at the eastern corner of this same exact block. We didn’t love the building at 3901 Walnut St. back then, but it ended up looking nicer in reality than it did in the renderings. Considering Penn’s recent trajectory of thoughtful and interesting additions to the campus’ built environment, we find ourselves wishing for something more whimsical and less institutional at this corner. Perhaps, like its neighbor to the east, we’ll see some additional detailing on the facade as it moves through the construction process. Whether that happens or not, it will still represent a huge upgrade over the status quo from a land use perspective, even if it means that neighbors will have to travel a bit further to find their fill of Fillet O Fish for the next couple years.

Don't adjust your screens - the building at 3901 Walnut St. is an entirely different project