Brandywine moves forward with land acquisitions for Schuylkill Yards plan

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Illustrated aerial view of West Philadelphia after implementation of the 30th Street Station District Plan, a development proposal for University City that incorporates Brandywine’s Schuylkill Yards project.

Brandywine Realty Trust is on track to acquire control of land totalling two acres currently used as parking behind 30th Street Station for its first phase of ground-up construction as part of its Schuylkill Yards development plan in University City.

The company paid $24.6 million on March 22 for a 99-year lease to an acre of land at 3001 and 3003 John F. Kennedy Blvd., with plans to acquire another long-term lease for second one-acre parcel adjacent to the west at 3025 J.F.K. Blvd. for $20.5 million before the end of June, it said in a financial report this week.

Brandywine chief executive Jerry Sweeney said in a conference call with analysts Friday that the acquisitions will allow the company to complete design work for the tract, but won’t begin construction until tenants are secured for much of what’s expected to be a 700,000-square-foot tower planned.

The building is expected to be one-half occupied with offices, with the other half being used for residential units or life-science labs, Sweeney said.

The $3.5 billion Schuylkill Yards plan is slated to eventually involve 8 million square feet of development over 14 acres. Much of the land, including the J.F.K. Boulevard parcels now being acquired, is owned by Drexel University.

Brandywine began work last late last year on its first stage of the project, a1.3-acre landscaped park at 30th and Market Streets, between the train station and the former Bulletin newspaper building. The former Bulletin building, now known as One Drexel Plaza, is also to be developed during the early phase.

Schuylkill Yards is one of three sites in central Philadelphia mentioned as a potential location for Amazon.com Inc.’s planned second headquarters in the city’s proposal to the e-commerce giant.

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