It’s no secret that life sciences is becoming one of the area’s most important industries, as Philadelphia cements itself as one of the leading hubs for research and manufacturing in the nation. Deep in South Philadelphia in the Girard Estates neighborhood, another entry to the ever-expanding built environment needed to support this was just announced. To the southeast of the huge South Quarter Crossing mixed-use project that was proposed back in 2019, real estate company SkyREM is bringing us a newly imagined campus at 21st & Oregon that will make a shift toward healthcare and other uses. This new proposal would repurpose existing buildings on site, add green space, and offer restaurant and hotel uses, in addition to providing an Aldi at the north corner of the property, which as you can see below is nearly complete. Let’s check out how things look here today before we dive deeper into the details.
The newly-dubbed Quartermaster Science + Technology Park will be a $250M investment to reimagine and revitalize the existing campus, which has had a long and storied history dating back to the early 19th century. Wet and dry lab space will be added along with the other aforementioned amenities, bringing this slightly worn-looking site firmly up to 21st century standards. As you can see below, the designs look modern and fresh, rebranding the campus’ somewhat staid present design, which surely shouldn’t upset the current tenants too much. Green roofs and six acres of landscaping will be added, with the tall tower at the center of the project reimagined as a hotel (imagine those views!), which seems appropriate given the half-million sqft of space of space that will make up this project. Let’s check out some of those tasty renderings to see what’s in store.
Obviously, this will be quite an upgrade over the current set-up. Revitalizing this area which sits close to the Navy Yard and proximate to University City – the two other hotbeds of development and research in the area – would change the feel of this end of Oregon Ave., and that would be a good thing indeed. As we mentioned, there were plans to add a mixed-use element to the sea of strip malls in this corner of the city, but the residential-heavy upgrades of South Quarter Crossing haven’t yet happened. Plans called for shifting the layout of the shopping center, with multiple buildings from BCT Design Group slated to transform this area. However, when we glanced over the fenced off area, we saw no progress since the demolition activity from a couple years ago. Whomp whomp.
If these two projects do happen concurrently, this nook of the city will be quite transformed. This will always be a car-dependent area given the lack of nearby transit options, but adding more workers here during the day and residents at night should change the feel of this nearly suburban stretch of roads and businesses. We can’t say that we had Oregon Avenue on our life sciences bingo card, but that doesn’t change the fact that this will be a great step forward for an area that could stand to see some improvements.