In June, the University City Science Center and Wexford Science + Technology announced they had formed a partnership to construct up to 4 million square feet in 10 new buildings at the growing innovation hub in West Philadelphia. In that time, they have come up for a new name for the development and further laid out their joint vision for this part of University City.
The area will be branded “uCity Square — A Community of Ingenuity” and will seek to be the epicenter of “innovation and collaboration between the private sector and top-tier research institutions such as University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.”
Large-scale projects, such as uCity Square, make not only educational and research institutions more competitive but also the city – helping to spur economic development activity throughout the region. These sort of developments seek to harness the confluence of innovation and academic pursuits that ultimately translate into new business development.
The Science Center isn't alone.
In the spring of 2014, the University of Pennsylvania unveiled plans for 23 acres along the Schuylkill River that had been used for DuPont’s Marshall Labs at Gray’s Ferry Avenue and 34th Street. Penn will create a new campus called “South Bank” that will become what the school has dubbed a “ Pennovation Center.”
The Science Center with its development partner plan to build high-density, mixed-use projects that aim to create a cohesive community that is active throughout the day and not just during business hours.
Wexford has spent the last 15 years focused on knowledge-based development, having constructed 4.35 million square feet in 11 campuses similar to the West Philadelphia research park. It has also done work with the Science Center in the past.
The Science Center currently has 1.5 million square feet and has room to expand on 17 acres on properties it owns at 3400 Market St., 3800 Market St. and 3850 Market St. In addition, Wexford owns the former University City High School property in a partnership with Drexel University.
The Science Center now has 17 buildings. With the eventual addition of the proposed new space, uCity Square will have a total of 6.5 million square feet in a total of 27 buildings at build out.