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The McDonald's at 3935 Walnut St. on Feb. 13, 2019.

Credit: Biruk Tibebe

Penn is under agreement to purchase the McDonald's located on 40th and Walnut streets at an unspecified future date.

The location will be renovated into a mixed-use office building, Executive Director of Real Estate Ed Datz wrote in an emailed statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian on Dec. 16. The McDonald's will be relocated into the new building.

The McDonald's located at 3935 Walnut St. has been the subject of scrutiny by some Penn community members, who believe the building's presence attracts crime. In a 2011 interview with the DP, Vice President for Public Safety and Penn Police Superintendent Maureen Rush said the McDonald's presence is a "safety concern" due its ability to generate "unruly crowds."

Other community members believe concerns about the McDonald's are linked to anti-Black racism. In a 2011 interview with the DP, West Philadelphia resident Larry Falcon said safety concerns are a "veil" for racism targeting young, Black West Philadelphia residents.

Some comments on a 2011 article published in West Philly Local also criticized Penn officials for characterizing the McDonald's as a "scourge" on campus and condemned the University's redevelopment of West Philadelphia neighborhoods as gentrification.

In the past, Penn officials have expressed interest in purchasing and redeveloping the McDonald's building. In 2011, then-Director of Real Estate Paul Sehnert told the DP that he wanted to transform the building into a residential space with restaurants and retail.

The McDonald's had previously planned to relocate in 2001 to 43rd and Market streets, but construction was canceled following petitions by Falcon and the activist group he founded, Neighbors Against McPenntrification, who were concerned about how construction disturbed their neighborhoods.

"McDonald's has operated at this vibrant Walnut Street location since 1970, providing a gathering place for community members and students alike," a representative from McDonald's wrote in an emailed statement on Dec. 16. "We remain committed to serving at this location years ahead."