Penn’s vibrant neighborhood shows continued growth

Penn’s neighborhood is booming.

According to “The State of University City 2011,” annual report, University City is a knowledge center and an engine of prosperity, innovation and commercial vibrancy that helps drive growth for the entire region.

The report, created by the University City District (UCD), the neighborhood’s improvement and economic development organization, also highlights some of the world-class amenities in the community, which is home to businesses and individuals that range from global innovators and Iron Chefs to the IRS and urban beekeepers. The number of homes in the neighborhood increased by 26 percent in 2010, the highest level in three years.

Penn has played a large part in University City’s significant growth.

University City, the 2.4 square mile area across the Schuylkill River from Center City, Philadelphia, boasts nearly 70,000 jobs and $2 million in real estate projects recently completed or under construction, according to the report. Neighborhood institutions like Penn are investing more than $1 billion in research and development spending in new disease cures and innovation.

As Philadelphia’s largest private employer with more than 31,000 employees and an annual payroll of $2.3 billion, Penn has contributed to University City’s employment growth, which the report says amounts to 12.2 percent over the past five years, not including an influx of more than 4,000 jobs at the neighborhood’s IRS facility.

Penn has also transformed the landscape of the neighborhood, converting a 24-acre parcel of land along the Schuylkill River into Penn Park, which is comprised of playing fields, open recreational space and pedestrian walkways. 

There are also several large-scale Penn construction projects currently in the works, including the $88 million, 80,000-square-foot Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology at 3200 Walnut St., which is expected to be finished in 2013, and the Translational Research Center, a new research tower at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine.

Penn also contributes to the neighborhood’s sustainability efforts. The University’s long-time, nationally recognized commitment to renewable energy has helped the neighborhood exceed the City of Philadelphia’s 2015 sustainability targets, with 24 percent of energy coming from renewable sources.

For copies of the report, contact the UCD at 215-243-0555 or visit

University City street fair