Real Estate Boom in the Wake of Life Sciences Growth

Developers in Greater Philadelphia are experiencing a demand for office and lab space as life sciences companies move to the region.

Just two years ago, the FDA approved the first-ever gene therapy by Spark Therapeutics and the first-ever cell therapy by Novartis here in Greater Philadelphia. Since then, the region’s status as a biotech hub has seen tremendous growth.

This year, millions of square feet in the region have been planned out as potential office and lab space. Republic Properties Corp., a real estate firm from D.C., is developing an eight-story building to attract gene and cell therapy companies. In King of Prussia, The Discovery Labs has begun renovating approximately one million square feet of office space into their life sciences coworking campus. The California-based Iovance Biotherapeutic is expanding to the Philadelphia Navy Yard to build a 136,000 square feet office, lab, and production facility. Additionally, the Wistar Institute will become the partner and anchor tenant of University Place 3.0, a commercial space in University City developed by University Place Association.

The founder and CEO of University Place Association, Scott Mazo said, “As a developer and someone who lives in Philadelphia, life science right now seems like the opportunity that has been missed several times in the past. We’re getting calls from names all around the country, and we’re being considered as the top place in the country in terms of cancer and gene therapy research.”

Years prior, Boston was notoriously known as the global hub for life sciences, but recently Greater Philadelphia has become a life sciences hotspot with more space and talent. Jeff Marrazzo of Spark Therapeutics referred to Greater Philadelphia as “a hotbed for gene and cell therapy innovation” while thousands of biotech professionals and prospecting companies traveled to Philadelphia for the BIO 2019 International Convention.