PHILADELPHIA — The Temple University Board of Trustees voted on Feb. 8 to move forward with the development of preliminary designs, usage options and environmental impact studies for a multipurpose retail and football stadium project. The facility, which will also include a student recreation center, has an anticipated seating capacity of up to 35,000 and will be located on the northwest corner of the university’s Main Campus.
"From our academic reputation and admissions to fundraising and research investment, Temple is an institution on the move," said President Neil D. Theobald in a statement. "Having our own stadium will help showcase our vibrant campus as we celebrate Temple’s accomplishments on and off the field.”
"At the same time, the retail components we envision for this property will contribute to North Philadelphia’s growing economy and the renaissance along North Broad Street," Theobald continued. "We will continue to work together with local residents and city leaders on this opportunity."
The board’s resolution establishes a number of specifications to be met as the project moves forward, according to a statement issued by the university, including that Temple spend no more than $1 million to pursue initial designs and studies. Additionally, the university must collaborate with community members and government officials to address local residents’ concerns related to parking, trash and noise.
In terms of cost, the board has capped the project’s total budget at $130 million, with a fundraising goal of $50 million. Cost reductions and revenue enhancements must also result in net savings of about $3 million annually through 2024, compared to the most recent lease extension terms proposed to use Lincoln Financial Field, where the Temple Owls currently play football, according to a statement. Project funding is expected to come from both private donations and bonds, and student tuition will not be used. Any future capital expenditures, financing and naming opportunities related to the project must also move through ordinary board approval processes.
Bringing football to the campus would, according to the university, create a new experience for Temple students — 15,000 of which live on or around campus — as well as alumni and fans. Instead of traditional parking-lot tailgating, celebration zones would be designated around the new facility, modeled after similar on-campus celebration areas at other urban universities. This move would concentrate pregame activities to the Main Campus, which is also easily accessible by regional rail and subway and bus lines.
"Our trustees have moved thoughtfully and cautiously during this process," Theobald said in a statement. "As we move forward, we will be sure to have a retail and athletic complex of benefit to our campus and community."