The University City Science Center has sold a majority interest in its original building at 3401 Market St. in Philadelphia for $26 million.

Ventas Inc., a Chicago real estate investment trust, bought the stake in the 90,000-square-foot building and the Science Center remains a minority owner in the property. “The sale frees capital for the Science Center to deploy into the current and future programs of the innovation community at uCity Square,” the Science Center said in a statement.

The acquisition stems from a relationship established in 2016 between Ventas and Wexford Science & Technology. At the time, Ventas bought nearly all of Wexford’s life science and medical real estate from affiliates of Blackstone Real Estate Partners for $1.5 billion in cash. As part of that acquisition, Ventas arranged a strategic partnership with Wexford. It would provide capital for development as well as buy properties Wexford developed. Once Ventas acquires a property, Wexford would continue to manage it.

In addition, Ventas also struck a long-term management and pipeline agreement with Wexford. This arrangement gives Ventas exclusive rights to jointly develop future projects with Wexford, which would be independently owned and operated by its existing management team.

Ventas also owns 3711 Market St. and 3737 Market St., which are part of the Science Center and its UCity Square campus. “We have a number of buildings in the UCity area and it’s a great block of assets to have,” said Louise Adhikari, spokeswoman for Ventas.

The Science Center, Wexford and Ventas partnered on the development of 3675 Market St., a 345,000-square-foot office and laboratory building that opened last fall and is more than 75 percent leased.

Drexel University is the anchor tenant in 3401 Market. Aside from a collaborative workspace operated between the Science Center and the university, Drexel maintains its student health center in the building.

Aside from the Science Center buildings, Ventas also owns other real estate in the Philadelphia area. For example, it owns the building occupied by Aria Senior Living at 150 N. 20th in Philadelphia as well as several properties occupied by Sunrise Senior Living and Genesis Healthcare and two medical office buildings occupied by Crozer Keystone off Sproul Road in Springfield.

Source: Philadelphia Business Journal by Natalie Kostelni | February 2019