To Drexel University President John Fry, the center of Philadelphia is not—as many of us claim—the Billy Penn statue on top of City Hall at 15th and Market.
“As far as I’m concerned,” Fry said at Fitler Club last Wednesday evening, for the first in our Development…For Good event series in partnership with Drexel’s Lindy Center for Urban Innovation, “the [Schuylkill] River is center city—it is the center of the city.”
The point, made all the more poignant by the literal Schuylkill River glimmering behind Fry in Fitler’s dining room, was hard to dispute given the collective work and vision of Fry and his fellow panelists: Campus Apartments CEO (and Citizen board member) David Adelman, who has been on the ground for the explosion of development—civic, educational and business—in University City; Spark Therapeutics CEO Jeff Marrazzo, whose biotech company is one of the biggest success stories for the area’s startup corridor; and Enterprise Center CEO Della Clark, who is launching a fund to help keep local small businesses growing in the midst of all the change. The conversation, titled “University City Boom” was moderated by Center City District’s Prema Katari Gupta.
Development…for Good, with partners including the Center City District, Darco Capital, Brandywine Realty Trust, Post Brothers, Shift Capital, JLL, HRP, FirstTrust Bank and Clarke & Cohen, is a year-long event series examining the intersection of private real estate development and the public good.
Before a sold-out crowd of over 200 people, the panelists last week laid out a vision for University City that is a blueprint for how Philadelphia can become a world class city over the next several decades: Growing eds and meds that are at the forefront of research, and also serving the community; a thriving biotech and startup sector that keeps researchers here, and that trains locals for skilled, well-paying careers; combining education, medicine, city government and business to improve education and housing for Philadelphians; and spreading wealth and opportunities into neighborhoods beyond Penn and Drexel.
See what you missed in the video below. And, scroll down for pictures from the great opening night of Development…for Good.
(all images courtesy Sabina Louise Pierce)
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR DEVELOPMENT… FOR GOOD SPONSORS
Header photo: David Adelman speaks on the University City Boom panel | Photo by Sabina Louise Pierce