Since Temple’s founding, it has been purchasing properties to expand its footprint in North Philadelphia. Temple has changed greatly during its existence, but this tradition of expansion has not, particularly on North Broad Street.
Various buildings spanning from 1500 block to the 2100 block of North Broad Street have been purchased by the university during a period lasting four decades, said Senior Vice President for Construction, Facilities and Management James Creedon. These properties include the building that housed the now-defunct Temple Garden, purchased by the university in August, and the Alfred E. Burk Mansion, bought in 1970 according to the Office of Property Assessment, on the 1500 block. The university does not own the properties housing Zavelle Bookstore, the Rite Aid or The Original Apostolic Faith Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Temple officials said no plan has been made as of yet to utilize the properties differently, said Richard Rumer, associate vice president for business services.
“We have a plan to make a plan,” Creedon said. “We have an awful lot of holdings and we need take a look at them and put more focus on them.”
Creedon said this process is a cycle that Temple has participated in since its founding, and the university has been acquiring properties for years.
Creedon cited plans to use the Burk Mansion at 1500 N. Broad St. as a potential honors college that never came to fruition. Plans need to be made to make use of such forgotten properties, he said.
Creedon said that while no plans are in the works as of yet, movements have been made to manufacture a plan in the near future.
“We are going to be bringing in a firm at the beginning [of] next year to analyze our properties so we can have a complete inventory,” Creedon said.
These properties will be evaluated for conditions and safety, Creedon said.
“What we’re going to be looking at over the next year is ‘What is our overall strategy from 1500 [block] all the way up to 2100 [block]? What is it that we want to acquire, what is it that we want to sell?’” Creedon said.
Creedon added that the university has also hired Michael Salove Company to find “commercial real estate opportunities for Temple.”
The main focus would be on renting the retail space created as part of the Pearson-McGonigle Hall renovation, space in Morgan Hall and the parking garage at 10th Street and Montgomery Avenue, he said.
“They have worked with Penn and Drexel and we hope they can help us land some interesting tenants,” Creedon said in an email.
Creedon said he remains confident that plans will eventually come to light, but the university is still at a preliminary action stage.
“We want to do an assessment of everything that we own,” he said.
Cindy Stansbury can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sean Carlin contributed to this report.