Schuylkill Yards – Can Buildings Be Bridges?

Posted on Mar 23, 2016

Development in Philadelphia is nothing new, but the Schuylkill Yards definitely seek to break the mold

Today’s post comes from Chad Eason, a Real Estate Agent at Houwzer.

At the beginning of March, the Schuylkill Yards Project was announced. This project is a big deal with a big price tag of $3.5 billion. It will take 20 years to develop over 14 acres and will add a new park eight high rises to the skyline for a combined total of 5 million gross square feet of mixed use real estate.

These plans alone will send shockwaves of change throughout Philadelphia and more specifically West Philadelphia. John A. Fry, President of Drexel University, took this development a step further though, “Speaking specifically about nearby Mantua and West Powelton, Fry pledged: ‘This 20-year, $3.5 billion project will benefit thousands of low-income families without disrupting the fabric of their neighborhoods.’ ”

Fry and Brandywine are attempting something that is unprecedented in urban development. They are “committed to making the current residents of nearby Mantua and Powelton Village part of the Schuylkill Yards, rather than pushing them out.” Take a breath and reread those last two sentences.

This is not common for large scale development projects. What we have seen in most other urban developments is gentrification – defined by Merriam-Webster as the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents. This issue is very contentious and often pits socioeconomic and racial groups against one another. The Schuylkill Yards is trying to avoid that and benefit those who have been there for decades, while improving their access and opportunity.

Simultaneously, new tech companies, employees, and professionals will benefit from the massive new development. This means the last 5 decades of history and culture would not be whitewashed from a 3.5 billion dollar project. We would witness the integration of new culture with the current culture in Mantua and West Powelton. The offspring would be immensely interesting and never before seen in any urban center.

With efforts like these then The Schuylkill Yards will actually be “the place where buildings become bridges; individuals connect into community, challenges offer opportunities, and ideas iterate into innovations.”

So if you are in the market for a new home and want to be with raw West Philadelphian culture as well as new tech and innovation start ups, then give us a call and Houwzer can help you find a better way home.

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