Drexel Acquires Firestone Parcel At 32nd & Market


A view of the Firestone site after development | Image: Drexel University

A view of the Firestone site after development | Image: Drexel University

Drexel University has acquired the long-sought Firestone tire service station at 32nd and Market, a 26,675 square foot triangular parcel that’s in the nexus of campus development. The parcel’s exact future use hasn’t been determined, but likely possible uses are for academic space, student residences, and retail. Drexel’s 2012 master plan emphasizes mixed use buildings that activate the street and sidewalk. View that plan HERE.

“Drexel has had this strategically located property in its sights for many years,” said Drexel’s senior vice president for student life and administrative services James Tucker. “The time was right to acquire the parcel now and begin to connect the east and west sides of our campus along Market Street.”

The parcel is a critical connector between the University’s campus and an “innovation neighborhood” envisioned by Drexel president John Fry adjacent to 30th Street Station.

Under the terms of the purchase agreement with Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC, Firestone can operate in the location for up to three years.

About the author

Hidden City co-editor Nathaniel Popkin’s latest book is the novel Lion and Leopard (The Head and The Hand Press). He is also the author of Song of the City (Four Walls Eight Windows/Basic Books) and The Possible City (Camino Books). He is senior writer and script editor of the Emmy-winning documentary series “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment” and the fiction review editor of Cleaver Magazine. His essays and book reviews appear in the Wall Street Journal, Public Books, The Kenyon Review, The Millions, and Fanzine.


  1. Back in the mid-90s, we thought that Firestone would make more money if they closed up, then re-opened as a bar/restaurant/nightclub called The Firestone, with the neon sign intact. Throw the garage doors open on a summer night, have patio dining, and put cage dancers up on the car lifts. Woulda been awesome.

  2. Good (though I have fond memories of that Firestone). The next step in developing Market Street is to remove the parking garages (both Drexel’s and Penn’s) that inappropriately hog land around the Market-Frankford El stop at 34th St. These garages are the very opposite of good TOD for that site. Those employees who insist on driving to either university can park remotely, far away from this key transit node and walking corridor. Build residences, densely, where the garages now sit.

    • Agreed. People have a right to own a car if they choose. But, there are no rights to parking.


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