The State of University City 2017 Highlights Major Developments

Nov 17, 2016 5 years ago

We are proud to release The State of University City 2017. This latest edition of our annual publication illustrates University City’s status as an engine of remarkable prosperity, innovation and vibrancy, boasting world-class public spaces and amenities. The State of University City report provides a guide to the developments – academic, commercial, public, residential and more – that are driving 22 million square feet of planned growth and expansion in the neighborhood. The report’s 76 pages of charts, statistics, photographs, and stories illustrate how University City and its concentration of economic activity are setting a national pace for innovation and progress, and serve as a critical resource for anyone seeking to do business in the neighborhood.

University City institutions are making five major, economy-altering bets that will change University City’s future, all happening simultaneously, and all within blocks of one another: the launch of University of Pennsylvania’s Pennovation Center; Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust’s $3 ½ billion investment in Schuylkill Yards; the expansion of the University City Science Center into uCity Square; an accelerating focus on commercialization and entrepreneurship by CHOP, Penn Medicine and University of the Sciences; and a long-term vision for developing over the railyards north of Amtrak’s 30th Street Station. These major projects will continue to transform a neighborhood already experiencing breakthrough growth – University City set record highs for population, student enrollment, median home value, patents issued, and jobs.

“In University City, forward-thinking institutions and business leaders are reimagining an entire neighborhood,” says Matt Bergheiser, UCD's president. “It is home to thousands of running, connected conversations about new ideas and new companies, new discoveries and new cures, and new approaches to creating inclusive opportunities for all Philadelphians.”

The State of University City 2017 focuses on major news from the past year and previews the significant projects on the horizon. What follows are some of the neighborhood’s most notable recent and current accomplishments. This year’s publication highlights University City as a:

  • Growing Job Market •
    • A year after surpassing the 75,000 job mark for the first time, employment continued its steady climb, increasing to nearly 77,000 jobs in 2016 with no sign of slowing.
  • Great Place to Stay •
    • Keeping up with continued occupancy and room rate growth, 315 new hotel rooms (a 44% increase) will be added to University City by year end, including luxury rooms at the new AKA in the FMC Tower.
  • Prime Retail Location 
    • Retailers choose University City due to the mix of college students, employees, and families occupying the neighborhood, and 88% of ground floor commercial storefronts are occupied.
  • Foodie’s Paradise 
    • New development led to continued growth in dining options, which is up 24% since 2009. University City contains 268 restaurants and bars within its 2.4 square miles.
  • Robust Office Market
    • Office occupancy rates climbed to record highs and remained the tightest in the region, at 95.5%. Hotbed of Development • University City saw more than 2.6 million square feet of new development in 2015, representing an investment of more than $1.3 billion.
  • Transit Hub
    • In transit accessibility, University City outpaces innovation hubs in Cambridge, San Francisco, and Seattle. In its first year of operation, Indego bike share’s two busiest trips were to and from University City stations.
  • Strong Housing Market
    • Home sales within University City were up by 24%, and the median home value increased by 6% to a new record value of $334,500.
  • Growing Tech Core
    • Already a hub for innovation, in the past year a record 175 patents were issued to University City businesses and institutions, and R&D investment increased $8 million over the previous year. The addition of recently-completed and forthcoming tech-focused commercialization centers will accelerate progress over the coming years.
  • Haven for Millennials
    • Millennials, including college and university students, are choosing University City as their home, with the number of 20-34 year-olds up 16% since 2000.


At UCD, we believe that University City’s future is critical to the future of our city and region, and that the district’s unique assets, opportunities and environment are both an engine of prosperity and an exemplar of community. We promote a world class, vibrant University City through major investments in public space development, public maintenance and public safety, by connecting entrepreneurs and residents to economic opportunity, and through the creation and management of destination events. This publication illustrates the exciting progress of the neighborhood and the impact of University City District. To obtain physical copies of State of University City 2017, contact the UCD by phone at 215-243-0555 or by email at [email protected].

To read the report in your browser click here.

To download a digital copy, click here.