University City District Celebrates 20th Anniversary and Major Neighborhood Milestones at State of University City Event

Friday, November 10, 2017

Alissa Weiss, University City District, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Communications;
215-243-0555 or [email protected]


University City District Celebrates 20th Anniversary and Major Neighborhood Milestones at State of University City Event
Annual Event Shines a Light on University City District Founders, 20 Years of Neighborhood Impact


(November 9, Philadelphia, PA) – At its annual State of University City event, University City District (UCD) celebrated its 20th anniversary while highlighting the major advancements in the neighborhood. Drexel President John Fry and University of Pennsylvania Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli, the respective founding and current chairs of the UCD Board of Directors, joined UCD President Matt Bergheiser for a retrospective on 20 years of UCD’s impact on the neighborhood, a celebration of major milestones for 2017 and a forward look at the major projects on the horizon.

University City District was founded in 1997 when dedicated residents, institutions and businesses came together to transform their community. While the organization’s foundational focus has been on providing supplemental public safety and public maintenance issues to the community – which have contributed to University City’s standing as a neighborhood of choice for residents and businesses alike – UCD has evolved into a nationally-recognized leader in transforming public space, connecting local residents to jobs, and fostering commercial activity and neighborhood vitality. UCD works to promote a world class, vibrant University City that supports and reflects the pace of advancement and progress spearheaded by its partners.

“UCD is proud to celebrate this milestone, and to pay tribute to the remarkable partnership of institutions, community members and business leaders at the heart of our organization,” says Matt Bergheiser, University City District’s President. “Here, the confluence of proximity, knowledge, diversity and rich amenities is defining the very notion of a great urban place, and we have steered UCD toward an operating mantra of changing places and changing lives.”

“It is a great privilege to serve as UCD’s Board Chair during a period of remarkable transformation for both University City and the organization” said Craig Carnaroli, University of Pennsylvania’s Executive Vice President. “UCD is a paramount example of what can transpire when an entire community works together toward a shared vision and a common future.”

“The University City District has more than lived up to its motto of ‘Changing places, changing lives,’” remarked John Fry, President of Drexel University and founding chair of University City District. “The simple but powerful concept of clean and safe streets paved the way for a broader rebirth of University

City that continues today – thanks in large measure to the partnerships forged 20 years ago. I can’t wait to what to see what the next 20 years brings for University City as we continue to work together for the benefit of all.”

In addition to UCD’s 20th anniversary celebration, the event also served as the official release of The State of University City 2018. This latest edition of UCD’s annual publication illustrates University City’s status as an engine of remarkable prosperity, innovation and vibrancy, highlighting a neighborhood that boasts 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 comprise nearly 1.5 million square feet of new real estate construction. The report’s 88 pages of charts, statistics, photographs and stories demonstrate how University City and its concentration of economic activity are setting a national pace for innovation and progress. State of University City serves as a critical resource for those seeking to do business in the neighborhood.


This year’s publication highlights University City as a leader in:

  • Job Growth: University City remains one of the top employment hubs in the region, with more than 33,000 jobs per square mile. The number of jobs rose substantially in 2017 and is on pace to surpass 80,000 for the first time.
  • Development: With nearly 1.5 million square feet of real estate projects completed in the last year and continued growth in the number of construction permits – rising more than 500% from pre-recession levels – the development boom in University City shows no signs of slowing.
  • Attracting Millennials: An ongoing boom in multi-family housing has contributed to an estimated 5,300 new residents since 2010 (up 11%). The people choosing to live in University City are getting younger, with the number of millennials up by 13% since 2000.
  • Transportation: University City earned three “paradise” distinctions from, notching top marks for getting around on bicycle, public transportation and foot.
  • Healthcare: The neighborhood’s medical institutions are on track to admit over 85,000 patients in 2017 and are leading the way in new treatments, procedures and medical technologies. Two of University City’s hospitals – Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – were ranked top ten in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report.
  • Dining Options: University City is home to a whopping 266 places to eat and drink, with more on the way. In 2017, the neighborhood welcomed new fine dining establishments Dim Sum House, CO-OP and the Walnut Street Café to the roster of excellent options from around the globe.
  • Innovation: In 2016, R&D investment at University City's universities rose by $34 million, and 175 patents were issued to local businesses and institutions. The next wave of co-working spaces, laboratories and incubators – anchored by the arrival of Boston’s Cambridge Innovation Center to 3675 Market Street – will further University City’s status as the region’s pacesetter for innovation.
  • Retail Attractions: Retailers love University City’s mix of college students, employees and residents, and shoppers love the 147 local retailers back, leading to 87% occupancy of ground floor commercial storefronts.
  • Hotel Offerings: Neighborhood hotel inventory exploded in 2016 with a 48% increase in rooms, split between the new AKA University City and The Study at University City. Existing inventory saw improvements too, as the Sheraton University City completed a 20,500 square foot renovation.
  • Housing: The number of home sales increased 6% over last year – up to the highest level since the recession – and the median home price grew by an extraordinary 18%. At the same time, home and rental prices remain remarkably affordable compared to peer innovation hubs such as Cambridge and San Francisco.


UCD believes that University City’s future is critical to the future of the city and region, and that the district’s unique assets, opportunities and environment are both an engine of prosperity and an exemplar of community. This publication illustrates the exciting progress of the neighborhood and the impact of University City District. To obtain copies of State of University City 2018, contact the UCD by phone at 215-243-0555 or by email at [email protected].


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About University City District (UCD): UCD promotes 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.


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