V. 2012 – 2017 Master Plan Current Issues: 5. Lancaster Housing — Updated 03.26.14.


Updated 3.26.14. Construction is coming along beautifully at 34th and Lancaster:

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Photo credit: Emily Mitnick


Updated 3.03.14. Take a look at the construction progress on Lancaster Square, a mixed-use residential/retail development at 34th Street and Lancaster Avenue:

Aerial Photos, January (scroll down for photos from February!)

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Aerial Photos, February

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Updated 11.07.13. If you’d like to stay up-to-date with Lancaster Square construction progress, check out the Earth Cam below, which features daily photos of the project at different times of day.


Updated 10.31.2013. The site at 34th Street and Lancaster Avenue (the former home of Hess Laboratories) has been cleared for the construction of Lancaster Square, a mixed-use retail/residential development project. Take a look at the aerial photo of the site below:


Updated 10.3.13. Are you curious about the details behind the renderings you’ve seen in earlier Lancaster Square posts? If so, take a look at the collection of suggested design details for the site by clicking the link below:

Lancaster Square

Updated 3.28.13. Most of the renderings below show the potential relationship between Lancaster Square’s dining hall and the retail/residential portion of the development. From the images, it seems that a beautiful exposed steel truss is being considered as part of the dining hall structure. Take a look:


Updated 3.22.13. The Lancaster Square development (34th Street and Lancaster Avenue) will include a dining hall with a variety of culinary options. Below are three possibilities for the future layout:

dining1dining2dining3After completion, the interior of the Lancaster Square dining hall might appear similar to the renderings below:

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Updated 3.18.13. Lancaster Square, the future mixed-use (retail and residential) development at 34th Street and Lancaster Avenue, could potentially look like the site simulations below when the project has been completed:

Drexel_NE Aerial Drexel_NE Close Up Drexel_NE Retail

Updated 5.30.2012. A Request For Proposals is being issued to selected developers who have expressed interest in proposing on a new mixed-use student housing and retail development on what is currently the site of the Hess Laboratories at the intersection of 34th Street & Lancaster Avenue:

The purposes of the project are to supply the beds necessary to support the sophomore housing requirement, expand dining options for students, and invigorate retail at the base of the Lancaster Avenue corridor while conforming to the Master Plan principle of the comfortable five-minute walk:

The RFP describes a development with as many as 1200 beds, which would increase Drexel’s University-Owned or Affiliated housing from 4,625 to 5,825 beds.  The solution will necessarily be tall, but in proportion which other residence halls on 34th Street:

The greatest number of beds would be massed along 34th Street, where the site slopes significantly from north-west to south-east:

The character of the development would be consistent with the “Main Street” feel of Lancaster Avenue to the north and west, but would reflect the urban nature of Market Street to the south and east.


V. 2012-2017 Master Plan Current Issues: 4. The Superblock

The term “Superblock” is used to describe the contiguous real estate Drexel University owns between 30th Street Station to the east, the north-south portion of JFK Boulevard to the west, Market Street to the south, and the rail yards to the north.  In a broader context, the planning area also includes the site of the old Abbott’s Dairy bounded by 30th, 31st, Chestnut, and Ludlow Streets.

Had the original rhythm of the City Plan extended west, the sixth major public square in Philadelphia would have been developed at 30th & Market Streets:

Drexel is turning its attention to the future character of the Innovation Gateway,  examining specifically the role the Bulletin Building is to play in the future.  The vision for the development is a mixed-use commercial, residential, and retail district both enhancing public transportation and driving innovation west of the Schuylkill:

The Old Post Office and 30th Street Station create the monumental context for developing a great public space.  The south-east quadrant of the superblock, featuring the Bulletin Building and its forecourt, begin to define the planning challenge associated with creating a great public space, functioning as an innovation gateway to Drexel and University City, fulfilling the promise of a mixed-use neighborhood:

The key to unlocking the potential of the superblock is defining the proper role for the Bulletin Building.