Drexel University will move its school for nurses, nutritionists and other health professionals from Center City into a new tower planned on part of a sprawling former high school property it acquired five years ago from the Philadelphia School District.
The new College of Nursing and Health Professions building will rise beside a public elementary and middle school also planned at the northwest corner of 36th and Filbert Streets, where part of University City High School once stood, Drexel president John Fry wrote in a blog post on the university’s website Tuesday.
The public school and health-professions tower will be designed and built by developer Wexford Science & Technology LLC of Baltimore, with financing provided by Chicago-based real estate trust Ventas Inc. The two also are partners on the University City Science Center’s uCity Square development on a parcel to the immediate west, which also had been part of the University City High property.
The three-acre Drexel-owned development site where the tower and public school are planned has been home to a seasonal Philadelphia Horticultural Society “pop-up” beer garden for the last three years. It will not reopen when its season concludes in September to make way for the site’s always-anticipated development, PHS spokesman Kevin Feeley said.
Fry said in his post that the nursing and health school’s move “will enable the college to consolidate academic and research programs," while facilitating “greater collaboration between the college and Drexel’s other colleges and schools."
Drexel’s health college currently occupies space at the Three Parkway office tower at 1601 Cherry St. and two other Center City office buildings, Fry said.
A spokesperson for Three Parkway’s owner, Washington-based MRP Realty Group, had no immediate information on the school’s departure or whether it would affect the large “Drexel” sign at the top of the 600,000-square-foot office tower.
Drexel has a 174,000-square-foot lease at the building that expires in May 2023, according to market tracker CoStar Group. CoStar’s data did not specify how much of the space was used by the health college.
Fry said the new college building, which appears in architectural renderings to reach 11 stories, is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2022.
Work on the new elementary and middle school, meanwhile, is scheduled to begin this year for completion in time for the 2020-2021 school year, Fry said. The $38 million building will house Powel Elementary School, currently at 36th Street and Powelton Avenue, and the Science Leadership Academy Middle School, now at 3600 Market St., he said.
The health-professions tower and public school “will bring more dynamism to our campus and further connect us with our neighboring community,” Fry said. “The two projects will further our roots as an anchor institution in West Philadelphia focused on both innovation and inclusion.”