On the northwest corner of 33rd and Chestnut streets, site work will soon begin for the construction of The Study at University City, a 212-room boutique hotel that will be developed, owned and operated by Hospitality 3 and Study Hotels. When The Study opens in late 2016, it will be the first time in Drexel University’s history that visitors, family and friends of the University community will have the opportunity to stay in a high-quality, full-service hotel located right on our University City campus.
In addition to 212 rooms, the 145,000-square-foot hotel will feature approximately 7,000 square feet of banquet and meeting space, a 105-seat corner restaurant and bar and a state-of-the-art fitness center. What makes this project truly special is that it brings so much value to the Drexel campus without requiring a single penny of investment by the University. Hospitality 3 is developing the hotel at their sole cost under a ground lease agreement in which the developer pays annual ground rents to Drexel.
Indeed, The Study at University City is similar to Chestnut Square and The Summit, which are also funded entirely by a third-party developer (American Campus Communities) at no cost to Drexel, and also generate annual income for the University in the form of ground rents. These mixed-use projects are all part of Drexel University’s strategy of partnering with private developers to enhance on-campus housing, dining, retail and amenities while reserving University funds and debt capacity for investments in our core academic mission.
The recently completed Gerri C. LeBow Hall, as well as completed renovations of Stratton Hall and Nesbitt Hall and the current renovations of Bossone Research Enterprise Center and 3101 Market Street, are just a few examples of the investments Drexel is making to enhance academic and research spaces throughout campus.
Meanwhile, as Hospitality 3 prepares to begin construction at 33rd and Market streets, I am pleased to report that the functions of the James E. Marks Intercultural Center have been relocated just a couple blocks north to 33rd and Arch streets, in the Paul Peck Problem Solving and Research Building. Located closer to the residential core of campus with an accessible ground-floor entrance for all visitors, the ground floor of the PPSRB was identified as the ideal new location for the programmatic offerings and services of the Intercultural Center. For now, all of the critical functions of the Intercultural Center are operating on the ground and third floors of the building. New spaces for these functions are being designed on the ground and second floors as part of a larger PPSRB renovation. Second floor spaces are expected to be complete in fall 2015; these will include the St. Katharine Drexel Chapel and related spaces. The Muslim Prayer Room, Interfaith Chapel, office space for other religious support staff as well as the Office of Equality and Diversity and the Student Center for Inclusion and Culture and LGBTQA Student Center are planned for the ground floor.
As we continue to implement the campus master plan, we will diligently seek ways to maximize University investments to advance Drexel’s core academic mission. Partnering with third-party developers like Hospitality 3 to fund developments that enhance the campus quality of life is just one of the strategies we are using to achieve
James R. Tucker is the senior vice president of administrative and business services. He can be contacted at [email protected]