The University City Science Center campus is getting a new name - uCity Square - that its leaders hope captures better the inclusive urban vibe they are seeking to cultivate at the West Philadelphia site.
Though the science center itself will continue as a business incubator and research hub under its current name, the campus on which it operates is being rebranded as part of its $1 billion expansion in partnership with developer Wexford Science & Technology, officials announced Tuesday.
"UCity Square will be a true mixed-use community comprised of offices and lab space for companies of all sizes, while adding more residents and neighbors to the mix with shopping, dining, housing, and jobs," Stephen Tang, the center's chief executive, said in prepared remarks.
Wexford and the science center are in the early stages of their plan to expand the monolithic row of office buildings along Market Street into a vibrant urban community that can attract high-prestige technology and biomedical companies to the campus as tenants.
Planned are pedestrian-friendly shopping streets, apartment towers, and a sprawling public plaza to be built beside the existing campus, established in 1963.
Ten buildings will be added to the campus' existing 17 under the plan, which will increase the site's floor space to 6.5 million square feet, from 2.5 million.
Much of the expansion will occur within a 10-acre parcel, part of the former University City High School site, to the north of the existing campus. Other work will take place on never-developed segments of the campus, which extends about five blocks along Market Street between 34th and 39th Streets.
Companies such as Eli Lilly and NRG Energy already have subsidiaries in the campus' existing buildings.
By rechristening the campus uCity Square, planners hope to attract a broader variety of companies to augment its traditional science-and-technology-focused tenant mix, said Joseph Reagan, a vice president at Wexford, which specializes in office and lab projects near urban campuses.
"It's a repositioning with a broader name, hopefully one that resonates with a larger community," Reagan said. "We're thinking of University City now as a location for any company that would choose to be in Philadelphia."