Philly Real Estate Round-Up: Progress Made in 2022

Sponsored by ECBuild / EwingCole

By Erika Riley
January 31, 2023

Despite its challenges, 2022 still proved to be an exciting year for life science real estate in the City of Brotherly Love. Companies announced various new projects throughout Philadelphia, targeting niches like university graduates and biomanufacturing. While experts say the city’s growth is due to slow down, it’s impossible not to acknowledge the leaps and bounds Philly has made recently. 

From its existing long-standing pharmaceutical institutions like Johnson & Johnson to its slew of universities like Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania, the city has many draws for the biotech, biopharma, and medtech industries. Additionally, its abundant quality space at relatively lower costs compared to other biohubs such as Cambridge makes it a draw to start-ups. Despite the greater economy’s warning signs of decline, Philadelphia is a city that’s still packing a punch.

Here are seven Philadelphia life science real estate projects that were announced, made significant progress, or were finished in 2022. 

1201 Normandy Place 

This Navy Yard project is the first of the huge $2.6 billion partnership between Ensemble Real Estate Investments, Mosaic Development Partners, and Oxford Property Groups set to introduce 3 million square feet of life science space to the Navy Yard. The partners broke ground on 1201 Normandy Place, a 137,000-square-foot speculative research and development lab building, in March 2022.

The building was designed in consultation with CRB, a leading lab designer, to be the most sophisticated cell and gene therapy lab building in the region while maintaining flexibility to accommodate users of all types. 1201 Normandy is projected to obtain LEED Gold Certification. 

Leasing begins in April 2023.

3151 Market Street

3151 Market Street, a 14-story R&D complex full of flexible and customizable lab and office spaces, broke ground in 2022. Expected to be completed by 2024, this building was designed by Gensler and developed by Brandywine Realty Trust. In addition to the lab and office space, the building will have retail on the ground floor. 

3151 is located in the center of University City, just across the street from Drexel University’s campus and near the 30th Street Station, making it a perfect spot for commuters of all kinds. The building is part of the Schuykill Yards project and will be the fifth project to reach delivery

2300 North Market Street

Breakthrough Properties announced its acquisition and plans to redevelop 2300 North Market Street in May 2022. The developer plans to turn the Center City block into 200,000 square feet of best-in-class life sciences space. Nestled between Rittenhouse Square and University City, the location is attractive for young professionals living in the city. It’s also only a 3-minute walk to the 30th Street Station.

Breakthrough expects the project will be ready for occupancy in 2024. The developer also aims to obtain LEED Gold Certification for the redevelopment project.

Pennovation Works Expansion

Longfellow Real Estate Partners announced in June 2022 that it would develop, finance, and operate a 455,000-square-foot life sciences facility on the Pennovation Works campus, located right across the Schuylkill River from the core university campus. Roughly 387,000 square feet of the building will be dedicated to biological R&D, while 68,000 square feet will be dedicated to biomanufacturing.

Construction on the building is expected to begin this year, with the project set to deliver in 2025. The new $365 million project will allow more biotech companies to stay and grow in Philadelphia as they expand past the incubator stage.

3201 Cuthbert Street

Last year in March, Gattuso Development Partners and Drexel University announced they would build 3201 Cuthbert Street, set to be the largest research and lab facility in the city. The 11-story life sciences development will be built on Drexel’s campus in the middle of University City and aims to be LEED Gold certified. 

When completed, 3201 will offer over 519,000 square feet of wet and dry lab space, over 11,000 square feet of street-level retail space, and 137 underground parking stalls. The building is set to complete in the fall of 2024.

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SmartLabs and Drexel have pre-leased over 45% of the space as of December 2022. This is SmartLab’s seventh location, but its first outside of biotech hubs Boston and San Francisco.

Budd Bioworks

Budd Bioworks, the life sciences development on the former site of Budd Co., continued to expand in 2022 with the owner’s acquisition of 2450 W. Hunting Park Ave., a 275,000-square-foot building. The building, which neighbors the Budd Bioworks campus, was originally used by Budd for R&D. It will add six more acres to the Bioworks campus.

The Curtis

In August 2022, Keystone Development + Investment secured a $265.2 million loan from Nuveen Real Estate to expand the life sciences conversion at The Curtis, the former publishing headquarters in Center City, Philadelphia. The loan will allow Keystone to convert the next 200,000 square feet at the Curtis to cGMP manufacturing space and research laboratories over the next several years.