Why Life Sciences Thrive Here
Life sciences account for 15% of jobs in the Philly region (the other 85% of Philly jobs are calling into sports radio stations to complain), and with $7.3B in annual wages, that's a lot of money talking. So we're thrilled to be hosting our third annual Philadelphia Life Sciences Real Estate Summit on Aug. 20 at The Rittenhouse, where we'll take a look at how the industry is impacting real estate.
One of our panelists, Hankin Group commercial leasing director Stacy Martin (snapped with her family at a concert at Hankin's Eagleview Town Center in Exton), says the industry—including biotech, pharmaceutical, life systems tech, diagnostics, and research and testing companies—has its second-largest presence nationally here (we're behind Boston, natch), boasting 90,000 employees. Thank our great infrastructure and plethora of academic and private research facilities.
While there have been bumps in the road due to company downsizing and mergers (with AbbVie’s plan to take over Shire Pharma just the latest), the presence of contract research orgs like Frontage Laboratories to handle outsourcing has been a bright spot. Occupying 60k SF at Hankin’s Eagleview Corporate Center, Frontage provides drug testing and bioanalysis services for over a hundred companies worldwide.
The world of biotech isn't limited to giants either. Smaller entrepreneurs require the same high-tech equipment and facilities as big companies while at the same time taking up less space. Working with extremes is a challenge, Stacy says, but the Innovation Center at Eagleview (ICE) is one creative solution. A 40k SF building vacated by Johnson & Johnson was divided and 31k SF of it repurposed to accommodate multiple entrepreneurs. Designed for five to 15 companies, the premises are fully furnished and labs are equipped with benches, fume hoods, A/C, and compressed air systems.
Tenants share a common area and conference center, while lab and R&D spaces are self-contained behind secure doors. And while developers talk a lot about flexibility, Hankin means it: Startups have the opportunity to move in immediately without worrying about furnishings or capital raising, and can take six- to 18-month leases to test the market. Transigg and Prim Bio are a few early tenants that have grown their operations under ICE’s roof.
Tenants also benefit from their place within the “complete community” of Eagleview, she says: office, residential, and retail spaces incorporated into an 800-acre campus in Chester County. It’s the kind of mix that Philly’s highly educated workforce aspires to participate in, says Stacy, with greenways and a town center that enable work/live/play integration (and, of course, free summer concerts). Want to learn more? Sign up for our event today!