South Bank

Penn's South Bank

Located south of the Schuylkill River at the intersection of 34th Street and Grays Ferry Avenue<
Phase: Planned

Penn's South Bank is located south of the Schuylkill River at the intersection of 34th Street and Grays Ferry Avenue. This 23 acre former heavy industrial site offers the opportunity to accommodate a variety of uses that support the academic and research mission of both University clients and third party commercial tenants.

The proposed plan for Penn's South Bank provides a long-term view of redevelopment with the understanding that incremental change and evolution will be necessary as the site is transformed. The plan, therefore, is designed to provide a flexible framework of circulation and open space that will organize both existing and future development.

Penn's South Bank anticipates aligning University-related research functions with private commercial enterprises seeking to operate in close proximity to the University and its neighboring institutions. The low density of this site is well suited to emerging research and tech-transfer development opportunities that may be physically impractical to construct in the core areas of University City, but would benefit from close proximity to University initiatives and for-profit companies.

Penn's success in fostering the growth of new companies through technology licensing and through partnerships with Penn and neighboring institutions will benefit from this fertile environment for entrepreneurial growth. Penn's South Bank will allow development that is complementary to the University City Science Center and yet differ in its focus on light industrial, flex-use, and buildings scaled to fit the need for practical commercialization and business opportunities in the region.

Short term opportunities for back-of-house support functions such as transportation services and warehousing are underway, while an information technology data center is in design. These practical functions will merge with new ventures as the site is developed and leased to innovative companies seeking the integration of cutting edge tech-transfer with the University's leading researchers.

Planning and Design Principles
Redevelopment of Penn's South Bank will be informed by the following principles:

  • Create a site framework to accommodate phased development of tech transfer, labs, flex-use, multi-use, offices, warehouse and open space.
  • Establish a system of streets, blocks, and open spaces that optimize development potential and create a vibrant pedestrian environment.
  • Leverage existing infrastructure and build additional infrastructure incrementally to minimize cost per phase.
  • Reserve parcels with riverfront views for future priority development, with a flexible range of uses and parking on the interior of the site and warehousing/flex use facilities at the western edge.

The vision for Penn's South Bank will emerge over time in response to practical needs and opportunities. The short term strategy will utilize the site for University support functions. With that understanding, the plan is organized to accommodate support functions in the early stages without precluding opportunities to redevelop the site for higher and better purposes. While specific uses will be identified over time, the site is not appropriate for core academic functions or housing.

Read more about Penn's South Bank.