The first stage of the transformative $3.5 billion plan to redevelop the area around 30th Street Station is well underway. Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, AMTRAK, and other stakeholders have partnered to build a new innovation neighborhood surrounding the station and have named it Schuylkill Yards.
Before breaking ground on any new buildings, the partners decided to create a central green square to jumpstart the neighborhood’s energy. The park is replacing a surface parking lot that has stood across the street from 30th Street Station since the 1950’s. We never understood this parking lot or the other parking lots on JFK Blvd as they are situated right next to the country’s third most-frequented AMTRAK station and never seem to be filled with cars.
Drexel Square, the name of the new park, broke ground in November of 2017. Things are really coming together at the site. Most of the hardscaping is in place and the central green lawn is looking fantastic. 23 Dawn Redwood trees were recently planted on the perimeter of the park and they just started to bloom. Unlike other coniferous trees, Dawn Redwoods drop their needles in the winter. This is a beautiful species of redwood that should grow quickly and keep the park looking unique for decades. The trees turn an amber color in the fall months and have fascinating trunk structures.
The park is scheduled to open in May. We expect a ton of commuters, tourists, and workers in the area to take full advantage of this public space. The next phase of Schuylkill Yards is the rehabilitation of the Bulletin Building, which stands next to Drexel Square. It will be interesting to see how long it takes the development team to start that project. We cannot wait to see the neighborhood transform before our eyes.