The Boomtown of University City

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

From the Philadelphia Inquirer

By Maria Panaritis
Inquirer Staff Writer

            “The good life.”
            “ A boomtown.”
            “On the move.”

With those upbeat words, not used very much these days, University City boosters on Monday portrayed their rarefied Philadelphia enclave as an engine of vitality untouched by the malaise that has stalled wages, economic growth, and real estate development across the nation.

An annual report by the University City District cited a litany of multimillion-dollar projects and other initiatives as evidence of prosperity in a neighborhood whose luck draws largely from the ambitions, deep pockets, and Ivy League power of the University of Pennsylvania.

The State of University City 2011 report reads like a 40-page public-relations brochure for the community that also is home to Drexel University, University of the Sciences, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and scientific business enterprises, as well as other academic and retail locations.

It tallies new restaurants and stores on the fringes, as well as big construction at the core of the neighborhood bordered by the Schuylkill and 50th street, Spring Garden street and Woodland Avenue.

“Everything that’s happened in the past five years has just been off the charts in terms of how this neighborhood’s come to-….