Ground broken for high-rise at Science Center site

The residential part of the University City Science Center project. Plans also call for 14,600 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
The residential part of the University City Science Center project. Plans also call for 14,600 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
Posted: February 07, 2014

Ground was broken Wednesday at the site of Philadelphia's latest high-rise rental effort - a 28-story, $110 million project at 36th and Market Streets in University City.

Called 3601 Market Street and due for delivery in spring 2015, the building will be constructed on a portion of the 17-acre University City Science Center campus that is now a parking lot.

The 364-unit, 443,000-square-foot, mixed-use structure is a joint project of the Science Center and Southern Land Co., of Nashville.

Designed by BLT Architects of Philadelphia, 3601 Market Street will have 14,600 square feet of ground-floor retail space, and parking for 200 cars and 140 bicycles.

BLT's design has among its goals LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The designation requires that 50 to 59 points be awarded for meeting established green-building criteria.

Michael Prifti, a BLT principal, said the firm's aim was to make the building practical and appealing, and called the project the first residential component in the Science Center's 50-year history.

Southern Land chief executive Tim Downey said 3601 was his company's effort to shape the development of the University City neighborhood, calling the project "a modern jewel" for West Philadelphia.

Science Center CEO and president Stephen S. Tang called the project pivotal to the center's efforts to become a 24/7 "innovation community."

Carl Dranoff, who led the way in building market-rate residential units in University City 12 years ago with the Left Bank, called 3601 Market another vindication of the vision University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University officials had from the start.

"It is now clear after more than a decade that University City is its own vibrant economic hub and neighborhood, with vitality and growth matching Center City, that can support these new projects," Dranoff said.

Rents for the units - studios, one- and two-bedrooms, and penthouses - will range from $1,300 to $4,500 a month, a spokeswoman said.

The building will target young professionals, hospital and university employees, and graduate students, and will be under the city's 10-year tax-abatement program, she said.

Dranoff cited more examples of University City's growth, such as the 31-story Evo student residential tower and the 47-story FMC tower at Cira Centre South.

"It's a real win for Philadelphia," he said, "and a case study on how 'eds and meds' can change blight into prosperity when the right leaders and policies coincide over an extended period."


aheavens@phillynews.com

215-854-2472 @alheavens

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