A new housing option might lead students outside the Penn bubble.
On Tuesday night, Brandywine Realty Trust along with Campus Crest Communities, Inc. and Harrison Street Real Estate Capital announced they will collaboratively develop a new student housing building called The Grove at Cira Centre South.
The building will be located at 30th and Chestnut streets and is expected to be complete by fall 2014.
According to the press release, The Grove will be 33-stories high, house 850 residents and offer “an attractive, upscale housing option.”
The site on Chestnut Street is currently leased by Penn and has been under review by Brandywine since 2007, according to Vice President for Facilities and Real Estate Services Anne Papageorge.
“[Brandywine] approached us in January 2012 about the residential concept of the Chestnut parcel,” Papageorge said.
In 2007, Brandywine did not specify what the space would be used for, and Penn did not know what would become of the site in the future. Due to currently low demand for high-end office space, the firm decided on the residential option.
According to the President and CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust Jerry Sweeney, the project is aimed to attract a wide array of students.
“We anticipate that the marketing program will encompass universities based not just in University City but in the Philadelphia region given the project’s excellent mass transportation access and quality design,” Sweeney said. “Penn’s pressing need is graduate housing and that is where we will direct our marketing efforts. The Grove will be the highest quality project in University City and will be exceptionally attractive to Penn’s graduate student population.”
Even though The Grove will be open to students and young professionals throughout Philadelphia, Penn hopes to accommodate its own incoming graduate students. According to Papageorge, Penn has asked Brandywine to reserve a section of rooms for a period of time after the apartments open.
First-year graduate student in the School of Social Policy & Practice Devon Cavanaugh said many graduate students will probably find the new location very appealing, especially because it is a more upscale option.
“I live in an apartment in Naval Square and plan to remain there until I graduate in May of 2014. There is a good possibility that I may remain in Philadelphia to work after I complete the program,” she said in an email. “The development on 30th and Chestnut sounds like something I would want to look at as a young professional.”
While the project may be attractive to older students, undergraduates might find the location inconvenient. College sophomore Greta Baldwin said she would not consider moving to 30th and Chestnut despite the quality of the apartments.
“That location does not cater to Penn undergrads,” she said. “Not to mention, that’s quite the uphill climb.”
Papageorge explained that Penn offers adequate housing on campus to the undergraduate population, but not for graduate students. During the planning process, Papageorge said they informed Brandywine of the need for additional graduate and professional housing closer to campus.
With construction already underway, leasing for The Grove is projected to start in fall 2013.
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