Old beautiful churches demolished for high-rise development. It could be a headline about elements of redevelopment occurring across Philadelphia. But on Penn's campus at 38th & Chestnut, Philadelphia Episcopal Church was saved (it has been claimed) because of a trade; two historic brownstones at the site were demolished and a tower will rise in their place. Some of the revenues from the tower will go toward renovating the church's Cathedral.

In the past

The historic buildings were torn down this winter and the beginning of 3737 Chestnut Tower, a 25-story mixed-use project, has risen from the earth. Developers Radnor Property Group broke ground on the $110M project in December. When it's finished in the summer of 2015, the high-rise will include a Zen garden, a sunbathing area, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and 276 apartments. Parking will go underground and there will be ground-floor retail.

Recent shot

Project rendering

This is one of a number of high-rises currently under construction in University City. Years ago, projects like The Radian on Walnut Street, where City Tap House is located, and The Hub at 40th & Chestnut paved the way for a run of new mixed-use towers in the area. In more recent years, we've seen the Science Center break ground on a 28-story tower at 3601 Market, a new Drexel dorm get underway at 34th & Lancaster, and a non-residential building rise at 3737 Market. And there are plans for more, like Hub 2, which will go up right next door to the first Hub building, as you might expect.

So across University City there's major large-scale development underway and it's been that way for the past few years. Looking forward, we see that the Evo Cira Centre South is galloping toward the finish line, and its buddy to the south is starting to move along too. The new Cira buildings will create a shiny new gateway for West Philly, hinting the throng of additional new towers just to the west.