Picture yourself walking out of the western side of 30th Street Station, emerging from the Amtrak tracks below, and being greeted by… pretty much nothing. This was life several years back before Drexel Square, the public park that was the first completed aspect of the massive Schuylkill Yards master plan from Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust. Formerly a walled-off parking lot that led to Megabus lines along the sidewalk, this verdant new park encircled by redwood trees is now a welcoming new entrance to the revamped Bulletin Building and University City. Formerly home to the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, which was published until the early ’80s, the building received a facelift several years back and is now home to Spark Therapeutics‘ headquarters.
Beyond basking in the lawn or making your way into Spark HQ, there still isn’t much to do over here, unless you’re willing to walk a few blocks or hop in an Uber. That is thankfully about to change, however, as a new destination is joining the Schuylkill Yards fun at the southeastern corner of the Bulletin Building.
Urbanspace, a New York-based food hall concept, is planning to open a 13K sqft space on the ground floor of the Bulletin Building, with an additional patio space fronting the square. There will be 16 yet-to-be-named vendors who will take spots here, creating a needed destination for the travelers, students, and employees who make up the majority of the foot traffic in the area. While we don’t know exactly what to expect, we anticipate something resembling Franklin’s Table on Penn’s campus, hopefully with a similar focus on locally owned establishments. As you can see from one of their New York locations below, this should make for a lovely addition to the area.
This is yet another exciting step for the Schuylkill Yards ecosystem, as major progress is taking place at the mixed-use tower at 3025 JFK Blvd. and the new lab space at 3151 Market St. just to the west. While these are both on-going, we can’t help but look forward to 3001 JFK Blvd. with its bold red design from PAU. This tall office tower would sit directly next to the park, and the views from the food hall sure would be something else. While the food hall is slated to be completed in Fall 2023, we aren’t sure when we will see the next building rise. Let’s hope it’s sooner than later as this neighborhood continues to undergo its slow and steady transformation.