Greater Philadelphia has Seen Industrial Sized Growth in Recent Years

Greater Philadelphia has experienced tremendous growth in its industrial sector. In the last year, nearly $1.6 billion of industrial space has been traded, an enormous increase from the $166 million in 2009.

Investors search for properties in urban areas that are often less than 200,000-square-feet and seek specific features, such as loading docks, column spacing, ceiling height, and more.

“The reason why these buildings are becoming more valuable in Philadelphia is because you can reach the consumer in a shorter length of time,” said Matthew Marshall, an industrial broker with Cushman & Wakefield.

The change in distribution has played a crucial part in the industrial industry. Customers expect products to be mailed directly to them when years ago customers were more likely to visit a brick and mortar store.

Greater Philadelphia’s transportation network has also been an important factor in the change of distribution and industrial growth. Accessibility to the New Jersey Turnpike, the Port of Philadelphia, and more, have made it easier for products to reach customers quickly, making our region more valuable for companies in need of distribution centers.

In August, Amazon announced that it opened its new fulfillment center in Burlington County, New Jersey. Amazon has become a major employer in the region due to its multiple distribution centers throughout our region.

Our Region’s Transit Ranked First in Connectivity

In September, WalletHub recently ranked 100 U.S. cities for best and worst public transportation across three dimensions: 1) Accessibility & Convenience, 2) Safety & Reliability, and 3) Public Transit Resources. Overall, Philadelphia ranked 89th out of 100 cities for public transportation due to its relatively poor overall scores on Safety & Reliability and Public Transit Resources.

Despite the overall low score from WalletHub, Philadelphia ranked fairly high in various categories, including:

  • First in the nation in the Transit Connectivity Index
  • Tied for the top spot in the Airport Accessibility by Public Transit category
  • Ninth out of 100 cities for Accessibility & Convenience and Safety & Reliability
  • Top 10 across five categories: Share of Commuters Who Prefer Public Transport (#9), Share of Commuters Who Use Public Transit (#8), Average Car Commute Time as a Share of Average Public Transport Commute Time (#6), Transit Connectivity Index (#1), and Airport Accessibility by Public Transit (tie for #1)

It is also important to consider other research sources as well. The AllTransitTM Performance Score ranks Philadelphia 7th best out of 77 of the largest metros in the nation on connectivity, access to jobs, and frequency of service.

By 2023, SEPTA is expected to extend the Norristown High Speed Line in King of Prussia to promote regional connectivity. This new line will continue to improve our region’s public transportation infrastructure and accessibility.

Greater Philadelphia’s Life Sciences Sector Attracts International Companies

The international life sciences company, Anpac Bio-Medical Science Co., is relocating its U.S. headquarters from San Jose, California to Montgomery County to become a part of the growing life sciences industry in Greater Philadelphia.

Anpac’s U.S. President Shaun Cong shared, “Pennsylvania has a mature life sciences ecosystem and a supportive startup environment that will allow our U.S. business to lay the foundation for future success.”

The cancer screening detection-focused life sciences company signed a 10-year lease at the Spring House Innovation Park in Lower Gwynedd.

Anpac’s technology can detect over 20 different types of cancer.

The pharmaceutical company, Incyte, also announced this past month that it will expand its Wilmington, Delaware headquarters with 200,000-square-feet of office and lab space and a parking garage. Greater Philadelphia’s life sciences industry has seen exceptional growth throughout the past few years.

Over 2,000 Jobs Created After New Terminal Opens

After 45 years, the Port of Philadelphia (PhilaPort) opened its first Terminal with Glovis America, a third-party logistics service provider specializing in Vehicle & Parts Logistics. The new Southport Auto Terminal and Vehicle Processing Center (VPC) are in total 155-acres and cost $110 million.

“Pennsylvania needs a top tier Port facility to compete in global markets,” said Jeff Theobald, PhilaPort Executive Director and CEO. “This new facility the best of its kind on the East Coast.”

The VPC will have the capability to process over 200,000 vehicles from brands, such as Hyundai, Kia, and many more. The VPC hosts state-of-the-art equipment, including two car washes with two double prep stations, two joined double paint booths, heated floors for winter weather conditions, and more. It will also be able to service 200 cars per hour and over 1,000 daily.

A few weeks ago, the PhilaPort and Glovis America held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the terminal’s official opening where the Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Wolf also attended and shared the impact this new terminal will have on the region and state’s economy.

“This terminal alone will stimulate an estimated $124 million in economic activity, as well as create as many as 2,500 good, family-sustaining jobs,” said Governor Wolf.

This past summer, the PhilaPort received a fifth post-Panamax crane as a part of a $300 million terminal improvement project at the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal, where the VPC is also located. Renovating our region’s ports continues to allow for greater accessibility to national and global markets.

Camden Recognized as an “Eds and Meds” Corridor

Camden, New Jersey referred to as an “Eds and Meds” corridor after the opening of a new health care center called the Joint Health Sciences Center.

This Center is expected to drive future job growth and economic activity in Camden. According to the Mayor of Camden, Frank Morgan, nearly 40% of jobs in the city are in the education and medicine sectors.

The Center holds lab space for Rowan University and Rutgers-Camden, simulation rooms for medical students at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, instructional space and additional simulation labs for Camden County College, and more. This will be the first multi-use space in the state for students enrolled in different higher education institutions.

“The Center is poised to become the research and innovation hub of South Jersey,” said the Rowan University and Rutgers-Camden Joint Board CEO, Dana Redd. “This campus will be the beating heart of Camden’s eds and meds corridor, injecting opportunity, growth, and innovation throughout the entire region.”

The Center’s state-of-the-art, 300,000-square-feet Healthcare Stimulation Center will provide students realistic experience with patient care and training exercises.

Rowan University committed $50 million for research funding and for this Center. “[The Center] will produce great advances in the life sciences and serve as a catalyst that makes Camden a center of innovation,” said Ali Houshmand, President of Rowan University.

Due to the rise in visitors traveling to Camden, local education and medical institutions and businesses have encouraged the opening of a hotel to accommodate traveler’s needs. By the end of 2023, Hilton Garden Inn will open along the Camden Waterfront. This development project along with many more will have a substantial impact on Camden’s economy.

Development Project in Delaware County is Appealing to Residents, Businesses, and Sports Fans

Architecture firm NBBJ has been hired to create a master development plan for the 100 acres around the Talen Energy Stadium and Wharf Building located in Delaware County. The Riverfront Alliance of Delaware County, Keystone Sports and Entertainment, and the City of Chester have been seeking development proposals since the spring to build out the land surrounding the soccer stadium.

“Our end goal is a vibrant waterfront that is welcoming to residents, supports local businesses, and enhances Chester as a unique, regional destination,” said Alan Mountjoy, NBBJ principal.

A major priority of this development project is to have attractions for guests at the stadium all year long. McDermott shared that the goal is to create a multi-sports facility with indoor and outdoor fields, an amphitheater, a rock-climbing wall, and a potential venue for esports.

This project received an $180,000 grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development, the Philadelphia Union, M&T Charitable Foundation, the Chester Economic Development Authority, and the Chester Redevelopment Authority.

In 2018, real estate company Hankin Group developed over 1,000 new apartments in Chester County as a part of a $100 million investment to improve the future of the Downingtown, PA train station. Developing the areas surrounding the Talen Energy Stadium and the Downingtown train station will continue to attract people and businesses to the region.

Philadelphia, PA skyline

Greater Philadelphia Ranked Sixth Biotech Hub in the U.S.

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News named the top 10 biotech hubs throughout the country and ranked Greater Philadelphia sixth for a second year.

Our 11-county region received this ranking based on multiple factors, including:

The biotechnology news organization shared that in the past year our region obtained $806 million in 37 venture capital deals, created approximately 48,000 jobs, has 10.6 million square feet of lab space, and more.

Just recently, it was found that 2019 has been Philadelphia’s most successful year for venture capital deals since 2000 with 93% of raises coming from heath care, pharmacy, biotechnology, and medtech companies.

Earlier this year, Amicus Therapeutics announced plans to expand to Greater Philadelphia and open a new Global Research and Gene Therapy Center that will continue to specialize in rare and orphan diseases. This expansion has proven to be a major asset to our region’s status as a life sciences hub.

Greater Philadelphia Region

New JLL Report Names Philadelphia an Innovator City

JLL released its annual Demand and Disruption in Global Cities report that ranks 500 cities throughout the world based on multiple factors, including quality of life, innovation, sustainability, and resilience. Philadelphia was named a New World City and categorized as an Innovator for the first time.

The report shares key trends in 2019, new economic models, the future of these global cities, and more. In one particular section, JLL breaks down the 2019 New World Cities and states, “Philadelphia now places among the top cities globally across the benchmarks of startups and science and technology produced both within and outside of the U.S., ahead of many other “New World Cities” specializing in innovation. It is gaining global influence in health care and now routinely ranks in the world’s top 30 cities in measures of economic clout due to its skilled talent pool, high-quality universities, and business gateway infrastructure.”

In 2017, Philadelphia was named among the Top Emerging Startup Hub in the U.S. by TechNet and Progressive Policy Institute. Our region continues to stand out as an emerging global destination for startups, innovators, and investors.

Aqua America

Major Greater Philadelphia Water Utilities Purchase

Aqua America Inc. headquartered in Bryn Mawr, PA has purchased the Delaware County Regional Water Authority (DELCORA) for $276.5 million.

Acquiring such a large water system was a rare opportunity for Aqua. DELCORA has over 165,000 retail customer throughout the region, many of whom will need major upgrades, which could have a great return on investment for Aqua shareholders.

DELCORA’s Executive Director, Robert Willert, explained why his company chose Aqua over other water utility companies stating, “What really made sense was to work with somebody who’s here, they have a lot of the same customers, and they’re a great neighbor and great utility.”

It was also announced that all of DELCORA’s current employees will work for Aqua.

Many companies in our region consolidate to create a stronger and more impactful operation. This summer, Virtua Health acquired Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, NJ and Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County, NJ in an effort to consolidate and strengthen the health care system throughout the Garden State.

Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ

Rowan University Could House International Technology Research Company

The largest and oldest technology transfer organization in India could potentially open its first U.S. headquarters in southern New Jersey. Rowan University and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the India-based National Research Development Corporation (NRDC). This partnership was stimulated by the New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy, who encouraged research universities to create a global impression throughout the state.

The NRDC supports all the intellectual property and technologies from any publicly funded research in India. Through this official partnership, NRDC would open its first U.S. location at the Rowan University.

Beena Sukumaran, Vice President for Research at Rowan University, said NRDC would be good for the university, the region, and the entire state of New Jersey.

The Memorandum of Understanding was a three-party agreement among Rowan University, NJEDA, and Choose New Jersey, an economic development organization. Sukumaran said, “Rowan will provide an office for NRDC in New Jersey. We will help them with capacity building through innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization training.”

Rowan University has been experiencing significant recognition in the past few years. The southern New Jersey university was ranked the 6th fastest-growing university in the U.S. in 2018. Rowan received this ranking due to its unmatched talent pipeline that is strengthening our region’s workforce.