Friday, October 19, 2018

WuXi AppTec Getting Third Build-to-Suit Lab at Philadelphia Navy Yard

by Steve Lubetkin,
Liberty Property Trust and Synterra Partners will begin construction early next month on a 95,000 square foot build-­‐to-­‐suit office and laboratory building for WuXi AppTec’s Advanced Therapies Business Unit at the Navy Yard. The new facility, at 400 Rouse Boulevard, designed to achieve LEED® certification, will be WuXi ATU’s fourth building at the Navy Yard and the third build-­‐to-­‐suit developed by Liberty for the company. When the new building is completed in late 2019, WuXi ATU will become Liberty’s largest tenant in the campus, occupying more than 380,000 square feet of space.

“WuXi was one of the first companies to locate to the Navy Yard more than fourteen years ago and throughout that time, our strong partnership will have produced four cutting-­‐edge facilities,” says Brian Cohen, vice president and market officer for Liberty Property Trust. “Their continued success has helped to pave the way for creating one of the most highly concentrated clusters of privately leased life science space in Philadelphia. With their fourth building soon to be underway, WuXi ATU’s growth offers an excellent example of the Navy Yard’s appeal to leading-­‐edge companies and its unique ability to attract and retain knowledgeable workers as well as accommodate long-­‐term business expansion.”
“The market demands for testing are increasing very quickly in advanced therapies. WuXi will more than double our testing capacity to support our cell and gene therapy clients,” says Felix Hsu, senior vice president and global head of advanced therapies. “WuXi’s facility in the Navy Yard has grown from one to a campus of four buildings, and employment here has increased from 150 people to more than 600 people and growing.”

The new building at 400 Rouse Boulevard, designed by DIGSAU, anchors the central intersection of Rouse and League Island Boulevards. Spanning longer than a city block, it will feature ripples of concrete and glass, creating a vibrant, animated urban fa├žade. Expertly crafted wood elements will adorn vital points of entry creating a warmth and detail that contrasts the solidity and scale of the 95,000 square-­‐ foot structure. WuXi Advanced Therapies was represented in the transaction by Kyle Greiert and Greg Soffian from Savills Studley.
“WuXi’s continued growth in Philadelphia at the Navy Yard reinforces the city’s standing as one of the nation’s leading innovation hubs,” says Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “We congratulate WuXi on this announcement of its fourth cutting-­‐edge facility at the Navy Yard, and look forward to the creation of additional highly-­‐skilled, high-­‐paying jobs in Philadelphia.”

In addition to the new facility, WuXi Advanced Therapies occupies three other Liberty buildings at the Navy Yard, 82,000 square feet housing its early phase clinical manufacturing and testing operations at 4751 League Island Boulevard, occupied in 2004. In 2014, WuXi ATU expanded into 55,000 square feet at 4000 S. 26th Street to accommodate the growing demand for non-­‐viral cell therapy manufacturing. Two years later, Liberty finished its second build-­‐to-­‐suit for the company, a 150,000 square foot facility located at 4701 League Island Boulevard, one of the largest facilities in the world for the GMP manufacturing of viral vectors, which provides late phase/commercial capacity.

“Philadelphia is one of the most dynamic life sciences and healthcare industry centers in the nation. As one of the first tenants within the Navy Yard’s community of R&D enterprises, WuXi AppTec has long been at the forefront of innovation in Philadelphia,” says John Grady, president of PIDC. “The Navy Yard offers WuXi a unique environment to support the growth its company, and is a place where their employees thrive. We are thrilled to celebrate WuXi’s success with the groundbreaking of this new building.”

The Navy Yard is home to one of the highest concentration of privately leased life science space in the city of Philadelphia with more than 800,000 square feet. The tenants span a wide variety of specialties including a large cluster of leading-­‐edge companies like WuXi Advanced Therapies, devoted to cell and gene therapy. As a result, the Navy Yard is a hub for attracting top talent in the life sciences fields with more than 2,500 employees in this sector working on the campus. The diversity among these companies encompasses large corporate offices (Glaxo Smith Kline), established and emerging companies (WuXi AppTec, Iroko Pharmaceuticals, Adaptimmune and Coriell Life Sciences), educational institutions (Vincera Institute, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals), and related capital ventures (Phoenix IP Ventures and Ben Franklin Technology Partners) among others.

The Navy Yard is considered the most successful redevelopment of a former military facility in the country. A thriving riverfront neighborhood, the Navy Yard currently features more than 7.5 million square feet of buildings housing more than 13,500 employees working at over 150 companies. Home to historic structures and new high-­‐performance and LEED certified development, the Navy Yard offers diverse, flexible building choices with varying heights, vintages, and floorplates, all powered by a nationally-­‐recognized microgrid and oriented around miles of riverfront access and world-­‐class open space. Future growth will support up to 10 million square feet of commercial and residential development. PIDC, Philadelphia’s public-­‐private economic development corporation, is the master developeroftheNavyYard.

Liberty is the master private developer at the Navy Yard and currently owns fifteen buildings totaling   more than 1.4 million square feet. Most of its properties reside in the Navy Yard Corporate Center, a master planned section of the urban campus featuring state-­‐of-­‐the-­‐art, sustainable multi-­‐ tenant and build-­‐to-­‐suit office and commercial space owned and developed by Liberty Property/Synterra, a joint venture between Liberty Property Trust and Synterra Partners. During the last fifteen years, Liberty has developed twelve properties in the Navy Yard Corporate Center for an investment of approximately $273 million. Liberty also has developed five other buildings outside the Corporate Center representing an additional investment of $119 million.

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