The Curtis Emerges as Premier Hub for Life Science Companies in Philly

The Curtis, located in the heart of Center City Philadelphia, once housed Curtis Publishing, owner of beloved publications such as the Saturday Evening Post and Ladies Home Journal. Today, thanks to the vision of Keystone Property Group, a local commercial real estate development, and investment company, the historic building is becoming a premier destination for life science companies to attract top talent and fulfill their life-saving missions.  

This week, Keystone Property Group announced two new leases for The Curtis, adding Aro Biotherapeutics and a classified, University of Pennsylvania-incubated biotech company to its ecosystem of thriving tenants that include immunotherapy vaccine developer Imvax and Vivodyne.  

Philadelphia has long been a booming life sciences market. Recent local expansion and investment in cell and gene therapy—leading some to dub the city “Cellicon Valley”—has created a growing life science real estate demand for new flex space and manufacturing facilities. The Curtis is proving that what’s old is new again.

“We’re excited that Aro’s headquarters will be moving to the historic Curtis building,” said Susan Dillon, Aro’s CEO and Co-Founder. “It’s an ideal venue to support the next phase of Aro’s growth and be a part of the local biotech community.” 

The Curtis was originally constructed between 1909 and 1921. Keystone acquired the building in 2014 as part of a plan to activate the historic property and the surrounding area.

“Designed as a manufacturing and printing facility, The Curtis has a unique infrastructure to accommodate specific requirements for life sciences companies,” said Tim Conrey, Principal, Senior Vice President, Regional Director at Scheer Partners Philadelphia, the property management and development firm representing the building for owner Keystone Property Group.

The Curtis’ mission-critical features for life science companies and its cGMP laboratories include oversized ceiling heights and vibration-resistant floors once required for printing presses; and in-place features like fresh air intakes, dual power supply, backup emergency power, loading, and freight elevators, and venting chases. These were just some of the factors that attracted Imvax as the building’s anchor tenant.                

The Curtis’ location is another attractive feature for life science companies. It’s easily accessible via public transit and major thoroughfares, is flanked by two national parks—Independence Mall and Washington Square—and is within a block of Jefferson University Campus, Pennsylvania Hospital, the Farm Journal Building of the University of Pennsylvania, and Wills Eye Hospital.

“We’re excited to welcome our newest tenants who are further complementing our thriving ecosystem of life science companies at The Curtis at a pivotal moment for the industry,” says Keystone Founder and CEO Bill Glazer. “The existing mission-critical features at The Curtis further validate Keystone’s ability to accommodate and quickly deliver state-of-the-art lab and facility space at a competitive rate. This allows leading biotech companies to access world-class talent, resources, and infrastructure while pioneering life-saving therapies at the premier scientific destination in Philadelphia.”

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For leasing opportunities contact Jake Fruncillo at 610-382-5233 or