The hotel is to be sited on the lot directly to the west of 30th Street Station, between 30th and 31st Streets, on what is currently a parking lot.
A Drexel hotel and conference center between One Drexel Plaza and 30th Street Station went from rumor to reality for many students at the luncheon when Francis presented designs from two competing hotel chains.Without knowing very many details, i.e. on the surface, this is a very smart development.
One design for the hotel was submitted by Marriott International Inc. as a Marriott Renaissance hotel, and the other was submitted by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. as a Westin hotel.
Drexel will not be constructing the hotels; rather, a ground-lease agreement will be signed between Drexel and the winning hotel chain. The agreement will provide the chain with a 50 to 90-year lease in exchange for constructing the hotel on Drexel property. The hotel is currently projected to be constructed by fall 2011.
In the immediate future, 30th Street Station is only going to become more and more heavily used. Amtrak ridership is up 15% nationwide this year and more than 20% on the Northeast Corridor specifically.
And with forthcoming developments like the American Commerce Center and Cira Centre South in addition to the just-completed Comcast Center, the amount of people taking Amtrak to Philadelphia is going to skyrocket. (Not to mention SEPTA regional rail.)
Moreover, just consider that the airport has, like, 25 hotels. Obviously, 30th Street Station should have at least one immediately adjacent hotel property.
That said, Drexel needs to scrutinize the details of both designs very closely. The development should be as urban-friendly as possible and extremely transit-oriented, considering its location.
Hopefully, neither proposal calls for an inordinate amount of parking, as Cira II does. (A 2,400-car garage? Right next to 30th Street Station?? Dumbest. Fucking. Development. EVER. Seriously. The Real Estate Devel team at Penn have to be fucking brain dead for their involvement with this one. Hopefully Professor Vuchic can sort them out.)
Everything built around 30th Street Station should be built for pedestrians first, not automobiles. The area surrounding 30th Street Station should not feel like a highway on- and off-ramp — as it currently feels — but rather like a pleasant, pedestrian-oriented connection between Center City and University City.
With Cira Centre to the north, Cira 2 to the south, and this hotel to the west, 30th Street station is finally getting the adjacent development was predicted to happen some eight decades ago.
Let’s make sure we get the design right so the next eighty years of the Station's existence aren’t started off with ass-backwards planning.
Development Plans Revealed At Luncheon [ Drexel Triangle ]
Getting On Board With Amtrak’s Needs [ Boston Globe ]
Gas Prices Send Surge of Riders to Mass Transit [ New York Times ]