Multi-Million Square Foot Development Project Underway in Lower Merion

The New York-based real estate company Tishman Speyer Properties announced plans to add 2.6 million square feet of mixed-use space in Lower Merion Township, PA.

This massive addition will include office, retail, and restaurant space along with a hotel and over 700 apartments at the Bala Plaza in Bala Cynwyd, PA.

“The plan we have unveiled is consistent with our original vision, which was to create a vibrant neighborhood that complements the adjoining communities in Lower Merion and Philadelphia,” said a Tishman Speyer Properties spokesperson.

This new vibrant space is expected to attract residents, employers, and visitors to Greater Philadelphia. Planners of Lower Merion are also considering creating new transportation connections, such as mass transit, scooters, bicycles, or pedestrian pathways.

SEPTA is working towards increasing connectivity throughout the region as well. In early 2019, the transportation company shared upcoming construction plans to extend the Norristown High Speed Line, which will connect the region’s three largest areas of employment —Center City, University City, and King of Prussia.

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.

Listen to S2 Ep32: Personalized Therapy with Fibrocell Science

Listen to our Growing Greater podcast episode with John Maslowski, President and CEO at Fibrocell Science.

In this episode, John discusses how the team at Fibrocell are focused on advancing research to treat the underlying cause of diseases affecting the skin and connective tissue such as Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis which currently has no cure.

Catch up on previous episodes of Growing Greater to hear engaging stories of economic development, innovation, health care, and more from industry leaders. We encourage you to subscribe, share, and rate Growing Greater in your favorite podcast app.

Listen to S2 Ep31: “That Will Never Work” with Netflix

Listen to our Growing Greater podcast episode with Marc Randolph, author of “That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea” and co-founder of Netflix.

In this episode, Diana Lind, who leads the Arts & Business Council for the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia conducted this interview with Marc. Marc shares how getting a “no” in business does not always mean “no” when pursuing that career opportunity that you think may be just out of reach.

Catch up on previous episodes of Growing Greater to hear engaging stories of economic development, innovation, health care, and more from industry leaders. We encourage you to subscribe, share, and rate Growing Greater in your favorite podcast app.

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.