Permits have been issued for the construction of a 14-story mixed-use commercial tower at 3151 Market Street in University City, West Philadelphia. Designed by Gensler and developed by Brandywine Realty Trust, the building will yield 495,000 square feet, rising as part of the massive Schuylkill Yards development. A lobby and retail space will occupy the majority of the ground floor. Office and laboratory space will be situated on the floors above, adding much-needed lab space to the University City market. The tower also feature a green roof. Permits list construction costs at just over $41 million.
The new building will feature a very modern and attractive all-glass facade, and will be a great addition to the area once completed. The upper floors will all see a uniform design, with floor-to-ceiling windows and vertical rows of light blue cladding. The more impressive feature of the design can be found along the Market Street facade, where the massing of the building will come inwards in a triangular shape, allowing for balcony space on every other floor. This space will likely prove to be a popular amenity, and will likely help attract tenants. A gray-clad mechanical penthouse will sit at the top of the structure.
The building’s street presence is one of the best features of its design. The base will be accented by angular horizontal beams capping floor-to-ceiling windows. Outdoor seating, wide sidewalks, garden space, and trees will span in front of the commercial space. The northwest corner of the intersection will see a major facelift and the pedestrian realm will much more welcoming.
Current conditions at the site are rather drab. A low-slung, dull gray building is the current sole occupant of the property, and offers no notable redeeming qualities. Its windowless façade makes it unwelcoming to pedestrians, its small parking lot harms the sidewalk experience, and its lack of height makes it a massive under-utilization of the property. Given that the structure is within blocks of one of the nation’s most significant transit hubs, the structure’s small size makes no sense, and its removal will be a certain positive for the surrounding area.
Seeing progress made on this development is a major positive, as is seeing any significant construction occurring at Schuylkill Yards. When fully built-out, the new neighborhood will be one of the largest hubs for office and lab space in the region, and will house hundreds of new residents, making much better use of the current dead zone surrounding 30th Street Station.
Philly YIMBY will continue to monitor the tower’s progress moving forward.