"University City"

Cranes explained: UCD releases new ‘State of University City’ report

Posted on 16 October 2014 by Mike Lyons

StateofUCThese days it seems like you can’t walk more than a block or two near Penn and Drexel’s campuses without seeing some sort of major construction project. Cranes are becoming about as common around here as coffee shops.

Some 32 building projects have been or will be completed in the area around the universities between last fall and next summer or so, according to the 2014/2015 State of University City report, which was released by the University City District (UCD) yesterday afternoon during a reception at World Cafe Live (3025 Walnut St.). These include about 1.3 million square feet of new building space dedicated to medical and biomedical research, a key field driving development of this part of the city.

The majority of all new office construction in the city is happening in the patch between 38th street to the west, Market street to the north and the Schuylkill River to the east and south.

All of this building and investment has created what doctor-turned-entrepreneur Keith Leaphart, a lifelong Philadelphia resident, called an “ecosystem for ambition” during yesterday’s reception. Leaphart owns the design and print firm Replica Creative, which opened a café amid all the hubbub last year at 3711 Market St.

Residential space is increasing as well. Two new residential high rises, at 36th and Market and 3737 Chestnut, are slated to open next summer and fall respectively. The UCD is forecasting that the number of new apartments will increase 60 percent by 2016. Many of these are aimed at graduate students and millennials, the fastest growing demographic category in the district.  Continue Reading

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Armed men break into, rob fraternity house near 42nd and Baltimore

Posted on 28 August 2014 by


Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity house. (Photo West Philly Local)

Police are searching for two armed men who forced their way into and robbed a fraternity house at 42nd and Pine near 42nd and Baltimore Wednesday morning at around 2 a.m.

The fraternity members in the house, the University of Sciences students, were hosting a birthday party at the time, NBC10 reports. Students at Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity house answered a knock on the door. The gunmen ordered the students to the ground, took cash – much of the fraternity’s newly collected dues from a safe in the house – and fled, according to police. One of the students was also attacked during the invasion as he told NBC10.

Penn and the University of Sciences planned to issue safety alerts to their students today.

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Love Vape e-cigarette shop opens on 4700 block of Baltimore Ave

Posted on 25 August 2014 by Mike Lyons


Nelson Ngo, foreground, and Chy Kan man the counter at the newly opened Love Vape University City. (Photo by Mike Lyons/West Philly Local)

A fully stocked vape shop has come to Baltimore Avenue.

Love Vape University City opened earlier this month at 4714 Baltimore Ave., the former home of the Talking Headz salon.

“It was a good spot,” said Stephanie Ngo, one of three employees on hand when we visited on Saturday. “There’s a little bit of night life here.”

“Vaping” is the slang term for the “smoking” of e-cigarettes, which turn special flavored liquids (sometimes with a bit of nicotine) into vapors through the use of a battery powered device.

The new shop, which is one of four Love Vape locations around the city, is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Earth tones, not Disney: New pre-school opens amid expansion at 38th and Chestnut

Posted on 06 August 2014 by Mike Lyons


A new early learning center has opened within a few blocks of the area’s largest employers as part of the development of the area around the Philadelphia Cathedral at 38th and Chestnut.

The Philadelphia Cathedral Early Learning Center offers about 100 spots for children ranging from infants to pre-school aged kids in the remodeled basement of the cathedral, which, with exposed ductwork and beams in the ceiling and a lot of hardwood floors, feels more like an artist’s loft than a pre-school.

“We really want the center to feel like home,” said enrollment specialist Elaine Errico. “You see beautiful wood floors and real furniture.”

Think earth tones, not Disney.

The Philadelphia Cathedral is leasing the basement to Hildebrandt Learning Centers, a management company that runs a few dozen centers around the region, including several on college campuses. The expansion is part of the plan that includes a new 25-story apartment building and three-story commercial building next door.

The construction, which is scheduled to be completed next spring, means that the learning center entrance is a little tricky to find for those interested in a tour (construction of the center itself is done and when we were there they were training the first group of teachers). The entrance is currently on Ludlow, a half-block north of Chestnut. They are offering tours between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Here are some more details on the center:

• Open from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
• Full- and part-time is available.
• The center participates in the state-subsidized tuition program.
• Number of spots: infants (6 weeks to 12 months) – 8; young toddlers – (13-24 months) – 10; toddler (25-35 months) – 24; preschool (3-5 years) – 60.

To schedule a tour call 267-428-6714.


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Lil’ Pop Shop burglarized recently, but crime stats overall down in University City neighborhoods

Posted on 01 August 2014 by


Click to enlarge.

Despite a few high-profile crimes in recent days in the Spruce Hill neighborhood, including the burglary of Lil’ Pop Shop near 44th and Spruce on Monday and robberies at 45th and 46th and Larchwood, this summer has been fairly quiet in the University City area, according to crime stats released by the University City District earlier this week.

The stats cover an area from 50th Street east to the Schuylkill and Spring Garden (in Powelton) and Market (in Walnut Hill) south to Woodland Avenue (see map). They show a decrease in residential burglaries and robberies in the area compared to last summer and a significant drop since a rash of burglaries and robberies in February and March.

Lil’ Pop Shop owner Jeanne Chang says someone smashed the glass front door at the shop overnight on July 28 and stole cash, a crime similar to many reported in December and January. Police caught that guy though. A police source said that a man was arrested for a series of burglaries, including several burglaries at local businesses, may have committed as many as 20 in the area.

University City, like much of city, has seen a fairly steady drop in crime in recent years. The drop is likely steep here because of the increased activity of a number of public safety organizations, including the Philadelphia Police Department, Penn Police, the UCD Ambassadors and several neighborhood watch groups.


Crime statistics from the University City District for the last 12 months.


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Burglaries a big concern in University City; crime prevention event this Friday

Posted on 17 April 2014 by


Map courtesy of UCD (click to enlarge).

Unfortunately, the number of burglaries in the University City area continues to grow, according to the latest monthly crime update distributed by University City District. Over 30 burglaries were committed in March, which is twice as many as in February and, by far, the largest number of burglaries in the past year. UCD is asking residents to be vigilant and use extra caution (for tips on how to prevent a burglary at your residence, click here).

A number of these burglary incidents seem to have been related to a recent arrest, according to UCD. We’re trying to get more information about that.

Overall, 64 serious crimes were committed within the University City District boundaries last month (see map).

As burglaries remain a concern in the area, the 18th District Police Department is inviting residents to a crime prevention event this Friday (April 18), where the discussion will focus specifically on burglaries. The event will take place from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Rite Aid parking lot located at 57th and Chestnut Streets.

The event will also spread awareness and encourage participation in the following programs designed to combat property-related crimes: Operation I.D., B.O.N.D. (Business Owner Notification Decal), S.A.V.E. (Stolen Auto Verification Effort), and VIN Etching (Vehicle Identification Number Engraving). If you are unable to attend tomorrow’s event, please contact for additional information on these programs. Some more details are also available here.

There’s also a monthly community meeting with police tonight, at 6 pm at Calvary Center (48th & Baltimore). As usual, Lt. Brian McBride and Sgt. Ron Washington of the University City Division of the 18th Police District will hear your concerns and discuss current crime and neighborhood issues. Such meetings happen every third Thursday of the month and all community members are welcome.


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