Penn's Purchase of U.S. Postal Service Property
Last week, President Judith Rodin, and
Omar Blaik, senior vice president for Facilities and Real
Estate, announced that Penn has finalized arrangements
for the acquisition of the U.S. Postal Service's 30th Street
facility, a 24-acre parcel of land in University City.
The agreements signed on March 26 by representatives of
Penn and the Postal Service cover a site west of
the Schuylkill River and east of the Penn campus between
Market and South streets. The University will be acquiring
all of the Postal Service's holdings in the area, including
the main post office building at 30th and Market streets
and, to the south, its Annex building, a parking garage
at 31st and Chestnut streets and 14-acre surface parking
lot south of Walnut Street. These additional 24 acres expand
Penn's 269 acre campus to the east, creating new development
opportunities, as well as physically connecting the campus
to the Schuylkill River and Amtrak's 30th Street Station.
The acquisition is a key component
of the University's 25-year Campus Plan, (Almanac February 27, 2001) a long-term strategy for controlled,
consistent development of the Penn campus, and a key part
of the strategy for development by the Schuylkill River
Development Corporation (SRDC). Planning for the site is
being coordinated with the master plans of the city and
the SRDC for improvements and development on the east and
west sides of the river.
"Our purchase of the postal lands is a
significant milestone for both Penn and Philadelphia," President
Judith Rodin said. "It will ultimately have the effect
of connecting University City and Center City and has the
potential to create a new research and technology zone,
residential and recreational areas and a variety of other
activities. It will create jobs, improve the quality
of life and transform the western side of the riverfront," she
said. "In order to achieve this ambitious goal, we
have joined an unprecedented development partnership involving
Penn, Drexel University, the Delaware River Port Authority,
the U.S. Postal Service, the University City District,
Amtrak, the Army Corps of Engineers, the City of Philadelphia
and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, among others. This
project is one of the most promising economic development
initiatives for the Philadelphia region in decades."
"The Postal Service is delighted that
we were able to complete this agreement with the University
of Pennsylvania," said S. David Fineman, chairman of the
Postal Service's Board of Governors. "With this sale and
completion of our new plant in Southwest Philadelphia,
we look forward to our continued partnership with Penn,
the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
in the economic development of the region."
John F. Street views the purchase as a key component
of the City's plans for the redevelopment
of Philadelphia's riverfront areas.
"The City of Philadelphia looks forward
to working with the University of Pennsylvania as it embarks
on this exciting redevelopment of one of the City's waterfront
landmarks," Mayor Street said. "The substantial investment
by Penn in the existing main post office building and the
14 acres of undeveloped riverfront is just one indication
of the positive impact we can have by focusing our efforts
on the under-utilized waterfront. This project is
exactly what I had envisioned when I spoke about the need
to turn our attention to the opportunities that await us
along the Schuylkill River, along the Northern Delaware
River and within the Navy Yard."
the agreement, Penn will take ownership of the site in
2007. While the Postal Service
will continue to occupy parts of the main post office building
as a tenant, the remaining properties and much of the main
building will be available for redevelopment.
President Rodin explained that planning
for the development of the site continues to be a joint
effort among several organizations.
"In the past year we have spent a considerable
amount of time working with all of the major players in
the Schuylkill Gateway area to form a common vision that
serves Penn, the surrounding institutions and the city
at large," President Rodin said. "Now that the agreement
is finalized, we will step up this planning effort to solidify
future development plans for the site."
by Schuylkill River Development Corporation and Facilities & Real
Above, is an aerial view of
the City looking east--with the Palestra and Franklin
Field in the foreground--shows the 14-acre surface parking
lot south of the Walnut Street Bridge which connects
West Philadelphia and Center City.
by Olin PartnershipsAbove,
is an artist's rendering of the way that undeveloped
tract of land, which Penn will be acquiring as part of
the $50.6 million, 24-acre acquisition, could be developed
for a research and technology zone, with residential
and recreational areas along the western side
of the Schuylkill riverfront.