Source: Philly by Paige Gross | November 4, 2020

When completed, the University City building will be 13 stories tall and offer about 400,000 square feet of purpose-built lab and office space, as well as parking, a full-service restaurant and retail space.

Life sciences development project uCity Square, now five years in the making, will welcome three local companies to its One uCity building when it opens its doors in 2022, developers Wexford Science & Technology said this week.

Biotech company Integral Molecular and engineering and scientific consulting firm Exponent join biotech company Century Therapeutics in leasing a combined 100,000 square feet in the lab building that’s slated to open in Q3 2022. One uCity and the larger uCity Square campus are being developed by Wexford in partnership with the University City Science Center and Ventas, Inc. Combined, the space offers more 3 million square feet of existing lab and office facilities to more than 200 companies.

“We appreciate the confidence that Century Therapeutics, Exponent and Integral Molecular have shown in One uCity and these significant leases continue uCity Square’s growth as Philadelphia’s premier location for talent, innovation, collaboration, and inclusion,” said John Grady, Wexford’s SVP and Northeast region executive in a statement.

Eyes have been on the life sciences industry in the last few years, and not just because of its aid in researching and fighting the coronavirus pandemic (although many companies, including Integral Molecular, are doing so). A recent report by real estate firm CBRE shows that Philly rose to seventh in the country for life sciences clusters, thanks to the region’s life sciences job base, the amount of lab space inventory and the amount of funding it attracts from venture capitalists and the National Institutes of Health.

One uCity broke ground back in January, and when completed will be 13 stories tall and offer about 400,000 square feet of purpose-built lab and office space, as well as parking, a full-service restaurant, fitness center, retail space and bike parking. It represents $280 million in capital investment by the uCity Square partnership, the Science Center said in a statement.

It will be the first of a series of buildings to be developed around a signature public plaza that will feature a neighborhood gathering space and year-round programming. The project is designed by ZGF Architects and is targeting a LEED Silver certification, similarly to the 3675 Market St. project finished in 2018, itself a 345,000 square foot LEED Gold building that is now fully leased.

“Life sciences has been a core growth sector for Philadelphia and the region for decades and it is now leading the region’s economic recovery, particularly with innovative cell and gene therapy companies,” Christopher Molineaux, president and CEO of Life Sciences PA. “uCity Square, with its committed partners and growing companies such as Century Therapeutics, Exponent, and Integral Molecular, is driving the expansion of the innovation ecosystem with new investments, development, talent and discovery.”