Office building to take former Philly Diner space
Some students expressed disappointment
September 22, 2013, 1:42 pm · Updated September 22, 2013, 8:32 pm·
Ellen Frierson | DP
Despite student hopes, there will be no retail replacement for Philly Diner.
The lot on 39th and Walnut streets, formerly the site of late-night eatery Philly Diner, will house a six-story office building. Many Penn administrative offices are being relocated to the site due to the construction of the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics.
The Perelman Center will be located in the West Philadelphia Trust Building on 36th and Walnut streets, causing some of the offices held there — such as the Office of Government and Community Affairs — to likely move to the new building. However Counseling and Psychological Services, while currently in the 36th and Walnut building, will likely not be at 3901 Walnut St.
In February, Perelman donated $25 million to create the center at the West Philadelphia Trust Building. While at first the 3901 Walnut St. lot was intended to be a mix of office space and retail, it will now only be office space.
Penn’s Facilities and Real Estate Services declined to comment on the project until after the Facilities and Campus Planning Committee of the Trustees meeting on Nov. 7.
Some students expressed their disappointment in missing out on new retail options.
“[Philly Diner] was a staple,” Engineering senior Jake Brenza said. “Aren’t there enough office buildings already? It’s right in the middle of all the good food.”
Underclassmen, however, were less familiar with the Philly Diner — which closed in October 2011 — and were more impartial to the University’s decision.
“I’m indifferent towards it,” Engineering sophomore Michael Nissan said. “I have no connection to the space.”
The Philly Diner closed after it decided not to renew its 10-year lease. After a shooting in 2009 outside of the diner, which left no injuries, it changed from being open 24 hours to closing at 1 a.m. on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends. The Philly Diner building was demolished and the fenced lot has remained vacant ever since.