The 14-acre, multi-tower Schuylkill Yards development is gaining traction as completion nears on the first building, the four-story Bulletin Building at 3025 Market Street in University City, West Philadelphia. Originally built in 1954, the commercial structure received a full renovation from developer Brandywine Realty Trust, which is responsible for the whole Schuylkill Yards project, and Practice for Architecture and Urbanism, which is also designing a number of buildings in the development. The modern renovation includes office, lab, and science space, as well as 10,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor. Spark Therapeutics is the building’s primary tenant.
The building was originally designed by architect George Howe and occupied by the Philadelphia Bulletin, a daily evening newspaper that was published from 1847 to 1982. The east face was completely blank, with a façade of brick and stone. When adjacent Drexel University purchased the property in 1993, the designers added strips of windows to accommodate the needs of contemporary tenants. A gigantic concrete plaza sat in front of the structure. As part of the renovation, the plaza has been redeveloped into a 1.3-acre public green space. The park, dubbed Drexel Square, features an ovular shaped patch of grass with stone pathways, and redwood trees surrounding the entire plaza.
The renovation of the building’s exterior started once Drexel Square was completed in July 2019, when scaffolding was erected along the entire east face of the building. The façade was demolished quickly over a one-month period, and window installation began in October. The east face was enclosed with glass by February 2020 and the vibrant red aluminum cladding was completed in June. The building was topped with the Schuylkill Yards signage in the same month, and now all that is left is the interior work that is already nearing completion.
The squat building will soon be surrounded by a cluster of towers that are part of Schuylkill Yards, notably the 512-foot-tall, 34-story 3001 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, the 361-foot-tall, 28-story 3025 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, and the 185-foot-tall, 14-story 3151 Market Street, as well as more skyscrapers shown in conceptual renderings.
The anticipated completion is scheduled for the first quarter of 2021.