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Revealed: Brandywine's Plans For First Ground-Up Construction At Schuylkill Yards

A rendering of Brandywine's Schuylkill Yards' first two ground-up towers, looming over public park Drexel Square and the redeveloped Bulletin Building

More than three years after Schuylkill Yards was first announced, the megaproject's first ground-up developments have been revealed.

On Thursday, Brandywine Realty Trust released renderings for two towers that will go up along John F. Kennedy Boulevard, overlooking Schuylkill Yards' first two elements: the Bulletin Building, currently being redeveloped to headquarter Spark Therapeutics, and public park Drexel Square.

The fire engine-red East Tower is planned to stand 512 feet and 36 stories tall, with 34 floors dedicated to office space, 7K SF of retail on the ground floor, and a 14th-floor amenity space. PAU, which designed both towers, envisions three asymmetric cubes sitting on top of one another, creating space for private terraces.

The more understated West Tower is estimated to rise 360 feet tall and contain 219K SF of residential space along with 200K SF of office space. The building will also include 9K SF of ground-floor retail, a ninth-floor amenity center and covered parking. Both towers will sit on elevated platforms supported by arches, creating covered arcades for pedestrians and outdoor dining.

The lots on which the two towers will sit are bisected by an industrial railway known as the High Line, which Brandywine and partner Drexel University plan to address by building another public space around it called Highline Park. Designed by SWA/Balsey, the park will include design elements like a waterfall to soften the appearance of the railroad.

Brandywine anticipates beginning construction on both towers next year, according to the press release, although no office tenants have been announced. The company has reportedly been trying to lure international insurance company Chubb, which currently resides at Fifth and Walnut streets.

The release made no mention of labs or life science, which has become the dominant demand driver in University City. Only three blocks away, Washington, D.C.-based Republic Properties Group is planning a ground-up development dedicated to life science.

The surface parking lot that the towers will replace, like the rest of Schuylkill Yards, is located within a federal opportunity zone and a state-sponsored Keystone Opportunity Zone.