At PPSA: An Overview of Work in Progress

At the recent PPSA Meeting, Interim Vice President of Business Services Marie Witt gave an update on the Sansom Common project and some related changes that will become visible along Walnut Street over the summer as the University proceeds with the largest "mixed use development " in West Philadelphia. Some notes from her report:

Phase 1 of the Sansom Common Project, the $80 million development stretching from 36th to 37 and from Walnut to Sansom, is on target. At that site the two-story bookstore is scheduled to open in mid-July, with nearby retailers opening around mid-August. Among the expected new retail outlets, whose leases are now in various stages of completion, are Urban Outfitters, City Sports, a XANDO bar and coffeehouse, and Parfumerie Douglas.

The Computer Connection, now entered through the Penn Bookstore, will be co-located with the new Bookstore but will have its own entrance on Sansom Street. While Barnes and Noble will operate the Bookstore, the Computer Connection will continue to be owned and operated by Penn.

The Bookstore, with a 60% increase in space from its current site, will have some 53,000 square feet and 190,000 title. There will also be a cafe in the store serving Starbucks coffee, with a capacity for 100 patrons.

West of the Bookstore, the Inn at Penn is scheduled to open in late 1999, with 260 guest rooms and a public restaurant and bar on the first floor. The Faculty Club is also scheduled to move into its new quarters on the second floor of the Inn by the end of the semeser. (click here for an update on the Club's layout.) A highlight of the Inn will be what Ms. Witt described as Penn's new "living room" that will serve as a gathering place for Penn members and their guests. The library-like space with a bar and two fireplaces (shown above) is one of many drawings Ms. Witt displayed at the meeting; all are accessible at html#Identification.

This summer, a new street is to be built off of Chestnut Street, between the Graduate Towers, leading to the Inn's entrance. Parking for the Inn will be in two existing garages--one at 38th and Walnut and the other in the Sheraton Hotel.

In response to query, Ms. Witt said that the projected use of the space east of 36th Street--Franklin Building Annex and its parking lot--is part of Phase 2 and is still under discussion. She also said that no decision has been announced with respect to the use of Skinner Hall, where the Faculty Club is now located.

Almanac, Vol. 44, No. 34, May 19/26, 1998