University of Pennsylvania Holds Groundbreaking for Sundance Cinema Center, Food Market and Parking Garage

PHILADELPHIA -- The University of Pennsylvania will hold a groundbreaking for Hamilton Square, its newest retail and entertainment complex, on Wednesday (May 12) at the northwest corner of 40th and Walnut streets, adjacent to the Penn campus. Hamilton Square includes the nation's first Sundance Cinema, a fresh food market and an 800-car parking garage.

Project construction will begin immediately following the groundbreaking and is expected to be completed within a year. The complex is scheduled to open in the spring of 2000.

"When this project is complete, University City will become an even more dynamic, vibrant and lively community," said Penn President Judith Rodin. "The Sundance Cinema complex will become an integral part of the social and intellectual life of the community, providing great films and a place for people to meet, to connect with others and to share ideas."

The project, she said, will add many wonderful new amenities to the area, including restaurants and outdoor cafes, a fresh food market and attractive outdoor gathering spaces.

"Hamilton Square demonstrates what can be accomplished through innovative collaborations and good old-fashioned teamwork," Dr. Rodin said. "It will be a spectacular addition to our community and to our city."

The Sundance Cinema Center -- a state-of-the-art, multi-screen theatre dedicated to the exhibition of independent films -- is a joint venture between Sundance Cinemas and General Cinema Theatres. The complex, to be built on property owned by the University, will include eight movie screens, a restaurant and coffee bar operated by Philadelphia restaurateur Stephen Starr, a video library, retail space, a lecture room and a large landscaped outdoor seating area. The theatre will be built on the southwest corner of 40th and Walnut streets.

A fresh food market will be located on the northwest corner of 40th and Walnut streets. The market, owned and operated by Pat Burns in conjunction with Supervalu, a national supermarket chain, will be a full-service market with an emphasis on fresh, prepared foods. It will also include an indoor and outdoor cafe, a sushi bar and fresh-cut flower section. Above the market will be an 800-car parking garage that will be operated by the University's parking system.

"We expect this project to serve as a catalyst for the 40th Street area," said John A. Fry, executive vice president of the University. "The Sundance Cinema, the food market and other attractions will bring many more people to the area, especially in the evening, making this a vital and vibrant part of University City. We believe this, in turn, will attract other businesses and entertainment outlets looking for dynamic new locations."

Dr. Rodin will speak at the groundbreaking. She will be joined by Philadelphia Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell; Stephen P. Mullin, Director, Department of Commerce, City of Philadelphia; Barry Grossbach, Chairperson, Spruce Hill Zoning Committee; and David Firestein, Sundance Cinemas. Mr. Fry will serve as master of ceremonies.

The architects for Sundance Cinema are Carlos Zapata of Wood & Zapata, Boston, Mass., and Richard Gelber of Philadelphia. The Moderns, an interior design and graphics firm from New York City, also is working on the Sundance design team. Two firms -- Hugh A. Boyd Architects and Cold Technology -- are responsible for the design of the market's interior.

Trammell Crow Company will provide development-management services for the Hamilton Square Project. The construction manager will be R.M. Shoemaker Construction Co.