The $158 million, 33-story Grove high-rise, planned for 850 Penn and Drexel students, adjoining the two campuses on a Penn-owned property at 2930 Chestnut St. in Brandywine Realty Trust‘s Cira South development, will stand out among East Coast college housing projects.
For one thing, it’s taller. Boston University boasts a landmark 26-story dorm with spectacular views. New York University cancelled plans for a 38-story tower after Greenwich Village neighbors and architect I.M. Pei protested. Penn’s three 25-story undergrad dorms have anchored “Superblock” (“an architectual conceptual disaster,” according to this 1999 Pa. Gazette review) on the west end of campus since the 1970s. Temple’s new Morgan Hall dominates the view to Center City from 21 stories above North Philly.
Also, like other Penn student housing projects in recent years, Grove is a private effort, though on a bigger scale: It will boast its own health club and pool, Internet and cable, and rents starting above $1,300/month for a single (there’ll also be suites with up to three bedrooms.)
The project’s backers hope it will reverse the long flow of graduate students into West Philly‘s mixed residential neighborhoods and booming Center City and slowing growth to the student ghetto locally dominated by outfits like Michael Karp’s University City Housing Corp. and David Adelman’s more upscale Campus Apartments (home of the Beige Blocks).
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