Penn is not participating in the relocation of the McDonald’s restaurant from the northeast corner of 40th and Walnut streets, and any such references are simply untrue. McDonald’s is a private business on privately owned land, and it has operated there for decades.
In my interview, I explained that Penn approached the McDonald’s Corporation to describe our vision and strategy for the 40th Street corridor. We encouraged them to think beyond the dated single-story, single-use strategy from the 1960s and consider a redevelopment of their property that would be mixed-use and higher density in character. We believe such a redevelopment would contribute to the urban scale of the intersection and corridor. We suggested to McDonald’s officials that the redevelopment could include a modern street-level McDonald’s restaurant.
We see the intersection as the anchor to what has been a renaissance over the last decade. Starting in the mid-’90s our intent was to support the growth of 40th Street as a successful corridor. We invested in tree-lined streets, proper lighting, clean and maintained sidewalks and storefronts filled with locally owned small businesses. Our hope was that it would become a place where campus and community coexist — as local residents, students, faculty, staff and visitors socialize, shop, dine and see a movie. We also aspired for mixing uses by adding a grocery store below a parking garage and increasing residential density by adding apartments above businesses. Today, several hundred new apartment dwellers reside in the Hub and the Radian. In becoming a destination, it also is a national model profiled in The Washington Post and The Boston Globe, honored by the Urban Land Institute and studied for replication by countless universities.
-- Craig Carnaroli The author is the executive vice president of Penn.
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