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On Eve Of Schuylkill Yards' First Real Groundbreaking, Nearby Life Sciences Building Sells For $567 Per SF

3701 Market St., a lab building on the main life sciences corridor in Philadelphia's University City

Two more pieces of proof that Philadelphia's life sciences market is doing historically well have come nearly simultaneously.

Brandywine Realty Trust will break ground on Thursday at the first vertical component of its long-promised Schuylkill Yards development district, Brandywine announced in a press release. On the eve of that event, CBRE announced it has brokered the sale of the life sciences building at 3701 Market St., six blocks away, to California-based GI Partners.

University City Science Center built 3701 Market St. in 2000, years before it launched its current master plan called uCity Square. Fully leased to the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, with $4M in renovations to its systems in the past four years, the building sold for roughly $567 per SF — a total of $79M for the 131K SF building. Penn uses the majority of the building for medical office space, while Drexel's portion contains wet lab space.

The proceeds of the sale benefit UCSC at a crucial time, while its developer partners Wexford Science and Technology and Ventas move forward on construction at One uCity Square with only part of its square footage leased.

3025 JFK Blvd. in Schuylkill Yards

Brandywine's project, like One uCity Square, is emblematic of the next generation of life sciences buildings, which looks set to significantly outpace in scale and ambition what is already in place in the neighborhood. The $287M building at 3025 John F. Kennedy Blvd., dubbed the West Tower at Schuylkill Yards, is set to contain 200K SF of life sciences space, 29K SF of amenity space, 9K SF of retail and 326 rental apartments.

Whether Brandywine with the West Tower, UCSC with One uCity Square or Mosaic Development Partners and Ensemble Properties Group's speculative lab building at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philly's developers are scrambling to get space online to capitalize on the unprecedented capital investment pouring into life sciences, in Philly and around the country. Others are looking to get ahead of new construction with conversions of what was once Class-A office space.

CORRECTION, JUNE 24, 11 A.M. ET: A previous version of this article misidentified the primary use at 3701 Market St. and the developers of One uCity Square. This article has been updated.