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University City Science Center cuts ribbon on 3737 Market Street

The Science Center's University City empire expands.

Don't forget the self-care. (Photo by Pexels user The Lazy Artist, used under a Creative Commons license)
Updated 9/12/14, 8:13 p.m., to clarify language about how the tower was financed.

The University City Science Center’s 15th building, 3737 Market Street, opened today.

The 13-floor, 330,000-square-foot building will house:

  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia gene therapy spinout Spark Therapeutics (one floor),
  • University of Pennsylvania’s Health System patient care (eight floors),
  • Good Shepherd Penn Partners and
  • a Corner Bakery on the ground floor, slated to open this winter.

The ribbon-cutting event hosted local politicians like Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and State Sen. Vincent Hughes, who called the Science Center’s research park “the centerpiece for the transformation of this region.” The new building, which sports the floor-to-ceiling glass walls that have become customary in new tech offices, features a shimmering art piece that hangs from the ceiling in the atrium. It’s called “Orders of Nature” by Soo Sunny Park and backed the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority’s art program.

3737 market st

The Science Center’s newest building. (Photo by Juliana Reyes)

Growing in University City seems to be a point of pride for Spark Therapeutics, which will take up a massive, 28,000-square-foot space on the top floor of the building.

“Our foundation as a company has been born of the work done in West Philadelphia,” CEO Jeff Marrazzo said, referring to research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Penn. “We want to be an example of a company that can not only have its past here but also its future.”

Spark plans to grow to 50 employees by the end of the year, on the back of a recent $72.8 million Series B.

At its opening, the building is 83 percent occupied, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The new tower is a symbol of demand for life sciences office space. It was originally meant to be 11 floors, but high demand caused developer Wexford Science & Technology to add two more floors as it was being constructed, according to a report.

A recent Jones Lang LaSalle report found that the University City Science Center had turned the University City corridor into “the tightest, most expensive submarket in the Philadelphia Central Business District.” Space in 3737 Market Street cost $18.34 per square foot, the report said.

The cost of the building was roughly $100 million, said Science Center spokeswoman Jeanne Mell. The project received federal tax credits and a $5 million grant from Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, Mell said. The building is being financed by a construction loan and redeveloper equity, she confirmed, which you can read about in this 2012 Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority filing.

Companies: JLL / Spark Therapeutics / University City Science Center

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