Saturday, June 11, 2022

Longfellow, University of Pennsylvania Partner On Life Science Facility in Philadelphia

 By Linda Moss CoStar News

Longfellow Real Estate Partners is teaming up with the University of Pennsylvania to plan and develop a 455,000-square-foot life science facility at the college's 23-acre innovation incubator, which is adjacent to its Philadelphia campus.

The project — a research, development and manufacturing hub — will mark Longfellow's first development in the Philadelphia market. The Boston-based firm is the largest privately owned commercial developer of life science buildings in the country, with offices in New York City, San Diego, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. Its portfolio spans nearly 15 million square feet.

The Philadelphia project will include two adjoining six-story buildings and is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2025. It will be located at 3401 Grays Ferry Ave. at Pennovation Works, which was developed by the university to accommodates science facilities, researchers, entrepreneurs, and industry partners. Roughly 70 companies and an estimated 400 people are currently located at Pennovation.

The demand for purpose-built lab space is growing in the Philadelphia market, with the area now dubbed “Cellicon Valley” because of its track record of developing cell and gene therapies, according to a statement from Longfellow. The Philadelphia region is home to more than 350 life sciences firms, with many having ties to the city’s universities, research institutions, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies.

The new project will have 387,000 square feet of research-and-development space, and 68,000 square feet of biomanufacturing space, according to Longfellow. It will feature rooftop terraces with views of Philadelphia’s skyline and Penn’s campus, as well as access to amenities at Pennovation Works. The project will include flexible lab/office space, which tenants can customize to meet their needs.

“Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania have a long history of academic excellence and fostering innovation," Jessica Brock, Longfellow Partner of Real Estate Operations, said in a statement. "As the region continues to be a leader in cell and gene therapy, Longfellow looks forward to delivering the infrastructure the life science industry needs to thrive.”

Partnering with an institution such as the University of Pennsylvania builds off Longfellow's track record of working with other schools such as Harvard, Duke, Stanford, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to the company's CEO and co-founder, Adam Sichol.

The new project will be near University City, home to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Amtrak’s 30th Street station, Drexel University, the University City Science Center, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“The pace of innovation coming out of Penn is astounding. We have brilliant scientists generating a record number of new [Food and Drug Administration] approvals in the life sciences. ... Attracting Longfellow to Philadelphia and Pennovation is a vote of confidence in Penn’s efforts to grow Philadelphia’s innovation ecosystem and enable the Lower Schuylkill master plan to flourish,” Craig Carnaroli, the university's senior executive vice president, said in a statement.

Longfellow’s partnership with the University of Pennsylvania extends the firm’s East Coast presence. It has also acquired 43TEN Labs in Long Island City in Queens, New York, and partnered with the New York City Blood Center to develop Center East, a 13-story, 600,000-square-foot life science hub in Manhattan that is expected to break ground next year.

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