Our Work

Turning Ambition into Action

Client
  • Drexel University
Client Type
  • Higher Education
Location

Philadelphia, PA

Practice Areas
  • Vibrant Campuses

Drexel University

Drexel Leadership entrusts U3 Advisors to streamline its facilities management and advance critical capital projects

 

Drexel University has the ambitious goal of becoming America’s most civically engaged university. This effort is anchored by a vision for a dynamic campus and neighborhood with world-class facilities and community amenities. U3 Advisors was retained by Drexel University to conduct an extensive review of the existing Facilities and Real Estate Departments to help realize this vision. The review included an in-depth look at the staffing structure, departmental policies and procedures, and external relations with contractors and other University Departments. U3 compiled recommendations on how to streamline policies, invest in infrastructure, and structure the department. As a result of the study, Drexel leadership combined the Facilities and Real Estate departments and re-evaluated internal processes and policies to optimize transparency and effectiveness.

As part of the restructuring, U3 assumed the interim leadership of the Facilities and Real Estate Departments providing hands on management of each department, while simultaneously pursuing a candidate for the Senior Vice President of Facilities and Real Estate role. U3 led day-to-day oversight of Facilities, Operations and Maintenance, Environmental Health and Safety, Planning Design and Construction, and Capital Planning.

Challenge

Enhance the operations and capacity of Drexel’s Facilities and Real Estate departments to execute on leadership’s ambitious on and off-campus development plans.

Solution

Embed the U3 Advisors team within the University’s administration to manage the Facilities & Real Estate (FRE) department, streamline policies, and invest in infrastructure. U3 led the effort to restructure the FRE departments, managed multiple complex capital projects, advised on strategic initiatives, and recruited a new vice president.

IMpact

Drexel Facilities and Real Estate Departments are now more streamlined in capital planning, internal reporting, policies, and procedures. This led to enhanced execution capacity and forward momentum on multiple projects on and off-campus.

To advance development projects already underway, U3 complemented active real estate negotiations and lease preparation for all large-scale real estate transactions. Additionally, U3 executed on a number of priority real estate projects including pre-development work for the US Squash Center, project management for Kline Institute for Trial Advocacy at 1200 Chestnut Street, the attraction and negotiation of a new Wawa store, relocation of the SLAMs school and pre-development initiatives for a new school building, pre-development and financial modeling for the Calhoun student housing renovation and co-location of the Honors College, significant space planning initiatives for a key building in the Schuylkill Yards development, and led negotiations on behalf of Drexel’s Center City campus that resulted in $10M in pledged investment.

Working with Drexel during this transformational period was exhilarating; challenging the U3 team to address immediate and long-term issues and draw upon facilities expertise and lead real estate negotiations. During this engagement, U3 Advisors served as an embedded resource to Drexel University, plugging in at all levels of the University to provide everything from executive strategy to day to day construction management and facilities support.