PHILADELPHIA, PA -- (March 2, 2022) – The University City Science Center has welcomed Timnit Abraha as Vice President, Real Estate. Ms. Abraha joins the organization following the retirement of its long-time Senior Vice President of Real Estate Curt Hess.
For the last three years, Abraha has served as Director, Harvard University Real Estate, where she was part of a team directly responsible for the stewardship of 3.4 million square feet across 94 buildings and led all Harvard commercial real estate transactions in Cambridge and beyond. Prior to that, Abraha served as Asset and Lease Management Consultant for the United Nations, Director of Real Estate for Teach for America, and Asset Manager for Columbia University Real Estate.
“Timnit brings the right combination of real estate expertise and passion for community engagement to this role,” said Science Center President & CEO Tiffany Wilson. “In order to power progress and further our mission of representing the communities we serve, we needed to ensure this position was filled with an experienced business leader who can think strategically about our portfolio and the role it plays in creating economic opportunities for local constituents.”
Ms. Abraha joins the organization at a pivotal time in the 60-year-old institution’s real estate legacy. Established as a research park in 1963, the Science Center has evolved its mission and today is dedicated to advancing healthcare innovation through its proven commercialization platform and by building inclusive STEM pathways for Philadelphia youth and adults.
Hess’ achievements during his 19-year career at the Science Center include the joint venture with Wexford Science & Technology in 2015, which resulted in the subsequent expansion of the campus and rebrand to uCity Square. During his tenure, Hess, in partnership with Wexford, oversaw the development of several new buildings along the north side of Market Street including 3711 Market, 3737 Market, and most recently 3675 Market, where the Science Center is headquartered along with CIC Philadelphia, Drexel College of Computing and Informatics, Spirovant Sciences, Inc., and Amicus Therapeutics. Last year, uCity Square welcomed the new Powel Elementary-SLA Middle School and this year will open an additional 1.2 million square feet of new labs, offices, academic spaces, apartments, and retail amenities, further cementing its status as Philadelphia's innovation community.
“It’s very rare to find research institutions, academia, and high-volume startup activity working in harmony to achieve the same goal. I am always inspired by the possibilities that take place in these spaces and the constant evolution of the people who use them. This role aligns with my professional and personal mission to make real estate an inclusive endeavor that creates positive change, inspires and engages surrounding communities.”
Together with Wexford Science & Technology and Ventas, Inc. a leading investor in university-based research and innovation real estate, Abraha will build off the momentum at uCity Square that continues to be a model for innovation-based economic development.
“It’s very rare to find research institutions, academia, and high-volume startup activity working in harmony to achieve the same goal. I am always inspired by the possibilities that take place in these spaces and the constant evolution of the people who use them,” says Abraha. “This role aligns with my professional and personal mission to make real estate an inclusive endeavor that creates positive change, inspires and engages surrounding communities.”
Today, uCity Square is home to over 200 science, technology, and healthcare companies, ranging from one-person startups to growing companies with hundreds of employees. The 4.0 million-square-foot mixed-use community consists of laboratory, clinical, office, academic, retail, and residential space combined with programming that is free and accessible to the public, with an additional 4.0 million square feet of mixed-use development planned for the uCity Square community.
In addition to 10+ years of real estate operations experience, Abraha is fluent in three languages and earned a M.S. in Construction Administration from Columbia University and a B.A. in Business/Communications from Baruch College.
About the Science Center
The University City Science Center is Philadelphia’s premier catalyst of entrepreneurial activity, healthcare innovation, and economic growth. Established in 1963, the nonprofit has been recognized by The Brookings Institution as a best-in-class investor, mentor, and economic development partner for young technology companies. Working alongside industry partners and leading research and academic institutions across the globe, the Science Center has supported over 1,000 early-stage companies. Today, the organization advances healthcare innovation from idea to the marketplace through startup support services, allocating capital, gathering the innovation community, and building inclusive STEM pathways for Philadelphia youth and adults. For more information visit sciencecenter.org or follow us at @UCScienceCenter.