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Silverstein pushes into Philly’s life science sector

Silverstein Properties is partnering with Cantor Fitzgerald and a local operator to push into the Philadelphia life science sector.

The New York-based developer announced the partnership was joining with University Place Associates (UPA), a sustainable commercial development firm based in Philadelphia, to develop, operate and lease 3.0 University Place, a state-of-the-art life sciences-enabled building located in the rapidly growing submarket of University City.

According to the local Philadelphia Business Journal, the partnership is investing $56 million in the venture.

The 250,000 s/f, eight-story lab and office building (rendering top) is a pre-certified LEED Platinum v4 BD+C Core and Shell building, also targeting WELL v2 Platinum certification with a focus on employee safety and wellbeing, maximizing environmental sustainability, and energy efficiency.

“I am very excited to participate in the development of this outstanding project,” said Larry A. Silverstein, chairman of Silverstein Properties.


“With more life science companies locating in Philadelphia, this project will greatly impact the industry’s growth in the city. We look forward to working closely with Scott Mazo and the UPA organization. This partnership offers us an opportunity to impact thousands of lives in a positive way in Philadelphia.”

University City sits at the epicenter of the Philadelphia region’s healthcare and education employment sectors and rapidly growing life sciences and biotech industries, with over 55 percent of the University City workforce dedicated to those areas.

 UPA acquired the 43,000 s/f development site at 4101 Market Street in 2014 as part of a strategic vision to create a cluster of energy efficient life science buildings.

JLL Capital Markets arranged the partnership which, according to managing director Brett Segal, drew a high level of institutional interest.

With an expected opening in the 4th quarter of 2022, the building will be the first phase of a multi-phase project.

Designed by The Sheward Partnership, 3.0 University Place will feature 30,000 s/f floor plates and 15-18 foot slab to slab heights. The facility will include ground-floor retail and curated wet/dry lab space, including an incubation co-working floor operated by Ben Franklin Technology Partners, and a dedicated floor for prebuilt 3,000-10,000 s/f for “Growth Pods” with three- to five-year leases for smaller-scale companies.

Future tenants in the building will benefit from significant tax incentives as 3.0 University Place is located in a Qualified Opportunity Zone as well as Keystone Opportunity Zone.

Earlier this year, UPA signed an 8,000 s/f lease with Wistar, an NCI-designated cancer center with a research and discovery engine that is focused on translating breakthrough biomedical discoveries into impactful new treatments to combat cancer and infectious diseases.

Cancer research group The Barer Institute Inc. a subsidiary of Rafael Holdings, Inc. has also signed a Letter of Intent to lease Growth Pod space.

The property is expected to open in 2022

According to the project partners, 3.0 University Place will create 410 construction jobs, and 215 operations jobs upon completion. The project’s economic impact during construction will be $221 million, representing 1,270 direct and indirect jobs. The anticipated economic impact for every year in operation is $309 million, representing 1,340 jobs.

“Our team is honored by the trust and confidence expressed in us by such accomplished organizations as Silverstein Properties and Cantor Fitzgerald,” said Scott Mazo, Founder and CEO of UPA. “I look forward to working with Larry Silverstein, Howard Lutnick and their entire teams in creating the finest facilities designed and built for innovation and discovery in science.

“With ‘The Wistar Institute’ as one of our lead tenants, 3.0 University Place will be a critical hub for collaborations that support the biomedical research that is solving the most challenging problems in cancer, infectious diseases and vaccine research.”

“3.0 University Place will connect some of the world’s finest scientific companies, academic and industry partners, and entrepreneurs – including The Wistar Institute and Ben Franklin Technology Partners,” said Anthony Maher, President of UPA. “These organizations are dynamic examples of how Philadelphia is creating a community of scientists whose collaborations will go far beyond the walls of a new building.”

“This project is a great example of a cross-pollination of two of our businesses, and marks our expansion into the life science development business,” said Jason Kaufman, Senior Vice President at Silverstein Properties.

“The project addresses the needs of Philadelphia’s biotech and advanced life sciences sector while also creating jobs at a time when people need it most. We’re excited to be breaking ground with the UPA team in the near future.”

In 2013, UPA completed 2.0 University Place, the first multi-tenant, multi-certified LEED Platinum commercial office building in the country. In 2015, Mazo announced the 3.0 development with a price tag that was then $80 million.

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