Friday, March 18, 2005

University City: A Neighborhood Ascends

In 1995, Penn began implementing a strategic plan to improve University City; ten years later, their actions have produced dramatic results (see story). The mechanism for moving forward much of this progress is the University City District (“UCD”). Since 1997, this special-services agency has supplemented municipal services in areas such as security and litter abatement and taken a more administerial role with respect to district governance and economic development. The results are decidedly impressive; according to a recently released report, 19 retail, entertainment and eating establishments opened last year, including World Cafe Live. The Cira Centre - a 28-story office tower and the first on the west side of the Schuylkill – will open later this year right next to Amtrak’s 30th Street Station. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (“CHOP”) $650 million expansion will double that facility’s size. Finally, the population has increased by nearly 3,000 and median home prices have jumped from $72,700 to $245,000.

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