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St. Joseph's University To Consolidate, Sell Properties In UCity After Acquiring University Of The Sciences

The main building of the former University of the Sciences campus at 43rd and Woodland streets in West Philly, seen in 2019 before USciences was acquired by St. Joseph's University in 2022.

Consolidation in Philadelphia's higher education scene could open up a rare opportunity for property acquisition near the city's most in-demand neighborhood.

After closing its merger with the University of the Sciences in June, St. Joseph's University is consolidating its footprint at the campus it acquired and exploring a variety of sale options for affected buildings, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Starting next fall, SJU will gradually move all undergraduate residences and coursework to its main Hawk Hill campus, which straddles the border between Philly and Lower Merion.

The university will entertain multiple forms of property transactions, including multibuilding transactions and sale-leasebacks of buildings in which it will continue operations, SJU President Cheryl McConnell said in an email to the university community reported by the Inquirer. SJU will keep its graduate life sciences research, programs and students at the former USciences campus, centered at 43rd and Woodland streets, for the long term.

The campus in question sits a few blocks southwest of the dense array of hospital and research facilities that serve as the main campuses of Penn Medicine and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Those adjacent complexes sit just south of the Market Street corridor that has anchored the ongoing life sciences development boom in University City, spurred by and catering to the burgeoning gene therapy and cell therapy industries.

Farther south of the former USciences campus is the assemblage of city-owned, former industrial land that PIDC is marketing to developers as the Lower Schuylkill Innovation District.

Though years off from any construction, the potential for development both on that land and at the nearby site of LucasPye Bio's planned life sciences complex could give a value boost to investors interested in whatever property SJU ultimately makes available.