University Place 3.0 nears completion as developer looks to land 'large' life sciences tenant
At 4101 Market St. in University City, University Place 3.0 features 250,000 square feet, mostly of life sciences lab space.
PAUL SCHWEDELSON / PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL
By: Paul Schwedelson
A $100 million, 250,000-square-foot University City life sciences building is about a month away from receiving its temporary certificate of occupancy and the developer is deep in negotiations with potential tenants.
The eight-story University Place 3.0 is at 4101 Market St. near several other life sciences and residential projects in development-heavy University City.
In addition to ground-floor retail, floors two through eight each have about 30,000 square feet designed for 60% lab space and 40% office space. How the space is fit out depends on the tenant.
New York firms Silverstein Properties and Cantor Fitzgerald invested $56 million in the development, joining University Place Associates on the project. Silverstein and Cantor Fitzgerald own 90% of the development and intend to hold it long term.
University Place Associates President Anthony Maher said he originally targeted small, young life sciences companies for the project. As those companies have faced challenges receiving funding, Maher said University Place Associates is now negotiating with three potential major anchors, which are much larger and more established. Whichever company takes the space would likely occupy the majority of floors two through seven in the building.
“We were going after, in 2021 and 2022, small-cap growth companies out of incubators. It may have been a bad call if we landed those companies,” Maher said during a recent tour of University Place 3.0. “It’s turned out to be a sweet spot for large industry partners and institutions that are looking here because they need that extra capacity to perform their science.”
The surrounding area is home to the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.
Each floor of University Place 3.0 has four empty shafts that run from the basement to the roof, which allows users to run connections to different types of mechanical equipment that may not be stored on the same floor. The empty shafts are intended to make an easy connection so each floor can receive necessities like compressed air and lab gasses.
Floors two through eight of University Place 3.0 each has about 30,000 square feet. Four empty shafts on each floor allow tenants to move mechanical equipment throughout the building.
On the ground floor, there’s about 30,000 square feet of retail with tenants that will include Fulton Bank as well as a coffee shop, fast-casual restaurant, dessert shop and entertainment space. University Place Associates declined to specify the tenants' names.
Maher said tenant interest in the building has been significant enough for University Place Associates to be able to pick which ones best align with their vision.
“It’s an envious position to be in as owners to say we like your market rate rent but we don’t think it’s a good fit for the neighborhood and the community,” Maher said. “We never thought we’d have those conversations this early."
University Place 3.0, at 4101 Market St. in University City, has extended sidewalks intended to allow for outdoor dining and a pedestrian-friendly feel for neighbors.
University Place 3.0 sits just south of University Place 2.0, a 98,000-square-foot office building that University Place Associates sold to Zurich Insurance Group in 2016. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has an office there.
On the east side of 41st Street is a Rite Aid, which is the planned site of University Place 4.0, a future 450,000-square-foot life sciences building. Maher said planning for the 4.0 building has entered the schematic phase. Sheward Partnership, the project’s architect, has already completed renderings. A University Place 5.0 building is also being considered next to the others, which would bring the campus to four buildings totaling 1 million square feet of space.
“We get to go deep here,” said Maher, adding that the campus "could create a legacy.”
A rendering shows University Place 4.0 on the northeast corner of 41st and Market streets in University City. The building on the northwest corner is University Place 3.0.
UNIVERSITY PLACE ASSOCIATES
University Place 3.0 was designed to be both LEED and WELL Platinum certified as University Place Associates view the building’s sustainability as a draw for tenants.
Because of the way the third-floor green roof was designed to capture rainwater, the building will save 31% of the water it’ll use, or about 300,000 gallons per month. The windows also use smart glass technology, meaning they’ll tint automatically, won’t require blinds and can keep the sun’s heat from overheating desks near windows.
Maher said it’ll be the first LEED and WELL Platinum lab building in the world.
“That sustainability element is pretty serious,” University Place Associates CEO Scott Mazo said. “We’ve gone to the Nth degree. … We’re very, very conscientious about that and want to make that statement.”
The third-floor green roof of University Place 3.0 allows for outdoor space that can be used by tenants and for events. The eight-story building is part of the trend of life sciences development in University City.
University Place Associates and future tenants benefit from tax incentives since the site is in a Keystone Opportunity Zone and a Qualified Opportunity Zone.
Elsewhere in University City, Gattuso Development Partners is developing a $450 million, 520,000-square-foot research and lab building at 3201 Cuthbert St. on Drexel University’s campus. Brandywine Realty Trust is building a $307 million, 417,000-square-foot life sciences building at 3151 Market St. Wexford Science and Technology is developing the uCity Square campus, which includes a $280 million, 400,000-square-foot life sciences building at 38th and Market streets.
Mazo founded Neighborhood Restorations and spent much of his career developing affordable housing in West Philadelphia, rehabbing abandoned homes. As more and more development has taken place in University City and pushed west, the corner of 41st and Market is now close to the action.
“I love that we’re not the bookend of all the innovation,” Maher said. “[We’re] becoming, hopefully, the front door.”
McDonald Building Co. and Dale Construction partnered on the construction.