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How Philly's Bioscience Sector Is Driving the City's Next Big Real Estate Boom

Currently, more than one million square feet of lab space are under construction in and around Philadelphia; once complete, they’ll house the region’s leading life sciences companies and biotech entrepreneurs. While the ­COVID-19 pandemic brought many industries to a standstill, developers in Philadelphia’s life sciences sector have pushed through to keep some of the region’s most anticipated commercial real estate projects on track. Some have done so with the help of additional state and federal government funding awarded to support the research these sites enable, because, after all, life sciences research could be the very thing that brings the pandemic to an end.

The center of this flurry of life sciences real estate action is University City, one of the most desired sections of the city for researchers and science professionals due to its proximity to universities and academic medical centers like Drexel and Penn as well as to a major transit hub, 30th Street Station.

Just across from 30th Street Station, several pieces of Brandywine Realty Trust’s $3.5 billion mixed-use Schuylkill Yards project have thus far been devoted to life sciences. In April, the real estate investment trust began converting 3000 Market Street to include a mix of office and lab space for Spark Therapeutics. The second phase involves adding a 472,000-square-foot life sciences building with lab space at 3151 Market Street, plus an additional tower planned for 3025 JFK Boulevard.