In West Philly, Two Former Schools Come Down, Another Will Follow

In the last few years, we've seen major redevelopment in University City, like the 3737 Market development, an 11-story office building with ground-floor retail and the still-under-construction 3737 Chestnut tower. While those projects have clearly coming into focus, plans for the future of University City High School at 3601 Filbert St. are still becoming clear.

The shuttered school

University City High School sits on a massive parcel of land between Lancaster and Filbert, 36th and 38th Streets. The Walnut Center and Drew Elementary also once shared this parcel, but Drew was razed earlier this year and TWC before that. When we passed the site last week, rubble was piled like junk heaps across the site. UCHS has yet to be demolished, but it's coming. Last year we wrote about plans from Drexel and Wexford Science and Technology, who envisioned a major mixed-use development on the site. Those plans included the vision of a new public school. According to Niki Gianakis, of Drexel, the abatement of the University City High School building is continuing and the actual demolition will start in mid-April.

Pile of rubble

As those potential plans move through the process from idea to men builidng on site, work continues nearby on the 28-story Science Center building at 36th & Market. Overall, this makes for a steady progression of ongoing institutional development in University City, joining the aforementioned projects and several others like a new hotel coming to 33rd & Chestnut. In all, these projects represent investments totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. They carry the potential to bring in new workers and house lots of college students. And if plans remain as they were last year, the site of the former UCHS will again be a home for Philadelphia public school students in the near future.