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Wexford, University City Science Center On Hunt For Tenants At Next UCity Square Building

A rendering of One uCity Square (right), the next phase of Wexford Science + Technology and University City Science Center's uCity Square development district

One of the originators of University City's life science boom is readying its next project to keep the momentum rolling.

Wexford Science + Technology and University City Science Center have retained Brian Young and Paul Garvey of Cushman & Wakefield as exclusive leasing agents for One uCity Square, the next building in their multi-phase uCity Square development district, according to a press release. Chicago-based Ventas has joined as a partner for One uCity Square.

With a groundbreaking scheduled for the fourth quarter, One uCity Square is targeting the end of 2021 to be ready for tenant build-out, the release stated. The 13-story, 389K SF building will contain a mix of office and lab space depending on its eventual tenants (none have been announced as of Aug. 15). Current plans call for 32K SF floor plates and 15-foot ceiling heights.

To this point, all construction for uCity Square has taken place along the Market Street corridor, with the most recent being the hybrid lab/office building at 3675 Market St. Completed in October, the 345K SF building has been fully leased by New Jersey gene and cell therapy company Amicus Therapeutics, biotech incubator Cambridge Innovation Center, University City Science Center headquarters, Drexel University's computer science program and others.

One uCity Square will be one block north of Market Street, slightly west of 37th Street and between Filbert Street and Lancaster Avenue. It will eventually overlook uCity Square, the 1.5-acre public space that will sit at the center of a cluster of new developments, from the west.

According to the project's master plan, the east side of the square is planned for a new hotel, and the north side is slated for what will eventually become another commercial building called Two uCity Square. Just to the east, Drexel University is nearing groundbreaking on a new building for its nursing school, also in partnership with Ventas.

A rendering of uCity Square, the eponymous park at the center of Wexford Science + Technology and University City Science Center's development district

Despite its basis in the sciences, uCity Square's successes have come in multiple asset classes. Southern Land Co. delivered the first residential component of the project, 3601 Market St., in 2015 and sold it in 2018 to a California buyer for a price rumored to be upwards of $150M.

Since uCity Square was first announced in 2015, breakthroughs in the fields of gene therapy and cell therapy at University City's research institutions have ratcheted up interest in life science development in the neighborhood. Though 3675 Market had the advantage of delivering before the forthcoming wave, One uCity Square will have more competition for life science tenants.

Spark Therapeutics, the first company to gain FDA approval for a gene therapy, currently rents space at uCity Square's 3737 Market St., but will soon move to the Bulletin Building to be the first anchor of Drexel and Brandywine Realty Trust's Schuylkill Yards project.