University City Science Center Plans to Swell to 4M Square Feet

More office and retail space is on the way.

Courtesy of University City Science Center.

Courtesy of University City Science Center.

The University City Science Center has plans to virtually double in size and create a behemoth with 4 million square feet of office, laboratory, residential and retail space.

Currently, the Science Center has 17 buildings on 17 acres. The new project will add 14 acres to the organization’s footprint — but it won’t happen overnight. It’s a 10-year project in coordination with Wexford Science + Technology, a realty company that has worked with the Science Center in the past.

The project would develop the former University City High School site and the three remaining open parcels on the Science Center’s existing campus: 3400, 3800 and 3850 Market Streets.

“It’s the culmination of ongoing success among the anchor institutions in University City,” said Science Center CEO Stephen Tang. “The growth of Penn, Drexel, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia — and the success we’ve had lately in nurturing startup companies that graduated from our incubator and wanted to stay in our facilities — makes this project possible.”

Tang said the Science Center wants more space and hopes to continue the trend of building high-density multi-use facilities.

That means the organization is getting deeper into the restaurant and retail game. It already houses the Han Dynasty at 3711 Market Street and has restaurants committed for its property at 3601 Market. Tang sees it as an extension of the live-work-play vibe going on in University City.

“We want stores, restaurants and other establishments that attract the type of people we want — innovative minds and creative types.”

The Science Center and Wexford will co-own the buildings, with the partnership split differing for each project. In the case of 3701 Market, the Science Center eventually bought out Wexford’s interest.