|Inside 30th Street Station|
It's a tall order, that's for sure.
John Fry is Drexel's current president. He's also a former UPenn higher-up (behind then-president Judith Rodin), as well as Franklin & Marshall's former president. Despite not having the typical credentials of an esteemed university president (e.g. dean/provost job experience, research/teaching expertise, doctorate degree, etc.), Fry has catapulted his way to being the leader of one of the most respected universities in the US on an NYU MBA and good, old-fashioned entrepreneurial spirit; pretty impressive.
So why does Fry want to build on top of Philadelphia rail yards?
Is it because Chicago has done it successfully (e.g. Millennium Park)?
Is it because both New York and DC are also in the planning stages of rail yard projects?
My guess is no.
Just look at where these rail yards are in Philadelphia. As you go east on the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76 East to all the the out-of-towners) and approach Center City, the yards are on the right next to 30th Street Station and the Cira Center. In other words, very prime Philadelphia real estate.
The trick is can a platform be built, and enough new development created on top of it, to cover the cost of materials/labor (i.e. Philadelphia union labor)? That is what Fry is set on finding out, and a few million dollars says he'll have the answer to that question in about 2 years.
I'll keep my eye out for further news on this topic.