Adaptive Reuse Coming Soon for Two West Philly Schools

The last few years have been rough ones for the Philadelphia School District, with budget shortfalls, layoffs, and school closings. One would think that the District would be aggressively working to sell shuttered schools in an effort to fill some of the gap in their budget, but that process to this point has been, let's say, measured. We still think they should have considered the $100M ofer for all the closed schools from Municipal Acquisitions, but that ship has sailed. Still, an Inquirer report earlier this week informed us that some schools are finally going to be sold, with plans for two to be redeveloped.

Alexander Wilson on Woodland Ave.

Alexander Wilson Elementary is located at 46th & Woodland, in between University of the Sciences and Four Worlds Bakery. It's also a mere two blocks away from Clark Park. The proposed buyer for the property is Orens Brothers, the company renovating the Croydon. Plans are for a mixed-use development, with residential and retail aspects. Seems like a very reasonable idea, given the location.

University City High, image from Wikipedia

A much larger project will happen at the campus that was once home to University City High, Drew Elementary, and the Walnut Center. These buildings and the land they sit on, located just east of 38th Street between Filbert and Powelton, could translate into a project of massive proportions. According to the report, Drexel and Wexford Science and Techology are partnering up here for a huge mixed-use project that will include residential, retail, office, lab, and educational aspects. It will probably take several years to come together, but once it does, look out.

For years, Penn was the top dog in terms of institutional educational development in University City. And make no mistake, they're still very much in the game, with a new dorm under construction at Hill Field. But the last several years have seen Drexel step forward with aggressive new development, including the recently completed Chestnut Square, the new LeBow building, and the currently under construction project at 34th & Lancaster. Now, with this huge project coming down the pike and additional plans to possibly develop the land above the rail yards at 30th Street, it seems Drexel has development plans on its plate for the next decade and beyond.