The Science Center has repeatedly proven it can fill speculative office and lab space, and the latest building it opened four years ago during the depths of the recession has been no different.
The $80 million, 10-story, 155,000-square-foot building at 3711 Market St. in University City is 86 percent occupied and set to be nearly fully occupied over the next couple of months. One of its existing tenants is planning to expand and would bring the occupancy rate to 96 percent.
Some of 3711’s tenants include Integral Molecular, which leases 10,000 square feet and is a graduate of the Science Center’s incubator. Another is Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, which started out with 16,000 square feet and expanded to 24,500 square feet, and Energy Plus, which has 33,000 square feet.
During the recession, educational and medical sectors continued to thrive, saidStephen S. Tang, president and CEO of the Science Center, and that helped to attract tenants to 3711 Market. “Proximity does matter and that is one of the things we’re trying to build upon,” Tang said.
With its office and lab space needs met for the time being, the Science Center is now considering incorporating a residential building into its 17-acre campus as one way of creating a more vibrant, around-the-clock community. It’s also an attempt to shed its reputation of being in a “concrete canyon” along Market Street.
“I don’t think in the history of the Science Center there has been a plan for pure residential,” Tang said. “We think there is very high demand for upscale apartments here.”
A multifamily project would be a new direction for the Science Center, which has stuck to a mission of providing a place for fledgling companies to incubate and grow since it was spawned 49 years ago.
While it’s still early in the process, the Science Center has issued a request for proposals for the construction of a residential building that could have as many as 300 apartments as well as retail space. The project could sit on what is currently a surface parking lot. A future phase would have what Tang called a “spiritual center” for the campus. Aside from incorporating potentially more housing, Tang envisions the building having more common space and uses for tenants and residents.