It was just a couple years ago that the Summit at University City sprouted on the 3400 block of Lancaster Avenue, replacing a couple of low slung institutional buildings with a massive mixed-use building targeting Drexel students. We don't need to tell you that this building was transformative for the block and Lancaster Avenue in general.
Now the buildings on the south side of the 3600 block of Lancaster, collectively called Lancaster Mews, are poised to undergo a major transformation as well, but in this case much of the existing streetscape will remain intact. Developers presented plans to Civic Design Review earlier this month, and as usual, the submission packet provided all kinds of insight into what we can expect in the near future. In summary, the project will entail 155 apartments and a bunch of retail space on the south side of the 3600 block of Lancaster Avenue. The developers will construct a new building at the corner of 36th & Warren which will house a 1st floor parking lot with 21 spaces, and they'll create rear additions to the row of existing buildings on Lancaster Avenue to create the additional density. Here are some images and renderings from JKRP Architects to give you an idea of what we're talking about.
This project has been in the works for awhile, with neighbors rushing to designate the Lancaster Mews buildings as historic last year when it was threatened with demolition. After the buildings got designated, an early iteration of the project which would have meant facadectomies for the buildings got panned by Inga Saffron, and ultimately the developers worked with the community to develop this version of the project which preserves most of the existing structures on the property.
We think this project does a fine job of merging the historic buildings on the block with changing needs in the neighborhood (more student housing needed, 'natch!). And we're glad that the developers, the architects, and the community were able to come together to find a model that would satisfy everybody's needs and desires. With the CDR process now concluded, they'll only need to convince the ZBA that the project should proceed, and we'd think we'll see construction here at some point in 2017.