Wexford Science + Technology, a Baltimore-based company, is about to embark on its biggest project to date in Philadelphia.
With longtime partners University City Science Center, it’s developing uCity Square, a 14-acre property north of Market Street where University City High School once stood. The project is estimated to cost more than $1 billion, a spokeswoman said. Wexford initially invested $18.2 million to acquire the property from Drexel, according to an SECfiling from 2014. It has since invested more, a spokeswoman said. (She declined to share numbers.) Both Drexel and Wexford are looking into tax incentives for the project, she said.
Wexford first got interested in University City in 1999 when it purchased 3535 Market St. Back then, it was an earlier version of the company called Townsend Capital, said Joe Reagan, Wexford’s VP of Development.
“From that development, Wexford Science + Technology learned more about University City and saw its potential as a unique market because of its proximity to universities, intellectual capital and the availability of industry and commercial space,” Reagan said through a spokeswoman.
Wexford, which has developed other science and technology parks like the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in North Carolina, started working with the Science Center shortly after, Reagan said. It has since helped the Science Center launch 3701 Market St. in 2001, 3711 Market St. and most recently, 3737 Market St. It’s no longer working on the Science Center’s forthcoming residential apartments at 3601 Market St, a spokeswoman confirmed.
Wexford brings financing and real estate development experience to the table, while the Science Center helps with the visioning of the properties and then runs them once they’re done.
“They bring capital and experience as developers,” said Science Center CEO Steve Tang.
Wexford was acquired by BioMed Realty in 2013 for $670 million. BioMed is one of the biggest real estate development trusts in the world.
Wexford’s also invested in Science Center programs, like its Digital Health Accelerator and its tech transfer program, QED ($200,000).
Aside from these Science Center developments and the 3535 Market St. purchase in 1999, the company hasn’t done any other projects in Philadelphia, Reagan said.