Empty buildings provide campus housing solution

While impressed with Temple’s expansion, Yorktown residents are not always pleased with the lack of housing options, causing a disturbance in their community.

Dear Editor:

It is impressive that Temple continues to grow its student population each year, but it is unfair to the local residential communities to be burdened with the ramifications of that business decision. It is also unfair to incoming students arriving from so far and finding, without foreknowledge, that they are caught up in the contentious situation that is spawned from the university not being responsible for providing adequate housing for all those desiring to be housed.

Temple receives taxpayer money by way of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s budget. It seems it would be a good use of taxpayer dollars for Temple to acquire two properties located on Broad Street, each at a subway stop, which makes an easy commute to and from the Main Campus and the Health Sciences Center.

The property located at 699 N. Broad St. is the old Divine Lorraine Hotel, owned by the Lorraine Hotel LP at 1735 Market St., 51st Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103. It seems this would be an easy rehab to fit it for the university’s student population.

The property located at 2700-34 N. Broad St., is the old Botany 500 building, owned by the 2700 North Broad Corporation at 520 E. Shore Road, Great Neck, NY 11025. This is a much larger project, but it would solve for years to come, the problem of housing Temple students as that population experiences an exponential increase.

Both of these properties are located at subway stops on the Broad Street Line — Divine Lorraine Hotel is at the Fairmount station, two stops south of the Cecil B. Moore station; and the Botany 500 building is at the North Philadelphia station, two stops north of Cecil B. Moore station. They are located so close to the subway stop that underground access should be designed into the lower level of both buildings, and students would not have to venture above ground until they are on Main Campus at Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue.

Neither of these acquisitions would be viewed as incursions into the local communities since Broad Street is a major commercial thoroughfare. The city of Philadelphia is marketing Broad Street as the “Avenue of the Arts North,” an address that would add a certain élan to the housing brochures sent to potential students and their parents.

This is my suggestion as one who understands the needs of the business from which Temple is operating and as a Yorktown community homeowner who has been victimized by the bad behavior and disrespect that accompanies the onslaught of students each semester in search of off-campus housing.

Pam Pendleton-Smith
Yorktown resident

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