On November 1, construction is set to begin on 3601 Market, a project that will help transform the streetscape of University City
. Located on the Science Center'
s campus, it will be the first residential project in that organization's history.
"We changed the plan a bit," explains Dustin Downey with developer Southern Land
. "We decided to add two more floors as penthouse two-bedroom units, which actually drove the number of units down, back to 362. In 28 total floors. We were approved for zoning about three weeks ago."
The neighborhood has been very supportive of the project. The height is not too dissimilar from other buildings on west Market Street and there is a high demand for residential units in the area. During the zoning process, neighbors did request some minor site changes, including a pick-up/drop-off space for residents.
The building is hoping to draw graduate students and young professionals by featuring affordable, stylish, efficient spaces.
"There was some concern about some of our studios being down in the 420 to 450 square foot range," says Downey. "We feel strongly that, across the country, smaller, nicer units are becoming much more popular -- especially as prices in the rental markets continue to rise. I'm also seeing a lot of younger people wanting to live out on their own and not have a roommate."
To mitigate the small size, the designers are including in-wall storage, murphy beds and eat-in kitchens. Plus, all units will feature an entire wall of windows, making them feel less cramped.
On the ground floor, the developers hope to attract either a quality restaurant or a small-to-medium sized prepared foods and grocery store.
"We're hoping that it brings a 24-hour element and improves the overall feel of Market Street, by putting people on the street and adding activity to the sidewalks," explains Downey. "We're looking for retail tenants that will also do that. With the success of Domus
only a couple blocks away, we feel we can continue to pull young professionals and grad students to live in University City, and pull them out of other living situations either in Center City or further out."
The first units will be completed in 18 months; the leasing office should be open in May 2015. In 24 months, the last units come online.
"There are so many jobs right there in West Philly and no places for people to live," says Downey. "We feel by that by adding 364 residents, you attract more residential services to the area: dry cleaners, grocery stores. We feel like it will hopefully start a cycle to make the area more residential."
Writer: Lee Stabert
Source: Dustin Downey, Southern Lands
The University City Science Center has partnered with Flying Kite to showcase innovation in Greater Philadelphia through the "Inventing the Future" series.