Spruce Street Plaza set to open this week

A new green gateway to Penn’s medical campus will open this week, replacing an unattractive surface parking lot that was perhaps best known for its food carts.

We’ve been watching construction speed along at Spruce Street Plaza since late July, and through the month of November the new public space really took shape. New trees were planted in early November and small shrubs were planted and mulched last week. New stainless steel benches face inward along the curving permeably paved path, surrounding a newly sodded lawn. Come spring, more plantings will round out the new space.

In addition to helping make this area of the campus more attractive, Spruce Street Plaza is also intended to create a nicer public space for members of the Penn community and visitors to take a break during their day or eat lunch outdoors.

The Spruce Street sidewalk recently reopened, much to the joy of commuters and pedestrians on this busy stretch of road. The project’s other major pedestrian upgrade, a mid-block crossing at the triangle’s narrow southern tip (where 33rd and 34th meet) has been “postponed due to some conflict with current construction at HUP in that vicinity, and it may not actually happen at all over the next few months,” Jennifer Rizzi, Director of Communications for Penn’s Facilities and Real Estate Services, explained via email.

The new plaza designed by Matthews Nielsen Landscape Architects cost about $2.5 million.

Here is a look at construction activity during November:

Here is the siteplan:

Site plan for Spruce Street Plaza | courtesy of Penn Facilities & Real Estate Services
(Site plan for Spruce Street Plaza | courtesy of Penn Facilities & Real Estate Services)

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