While taking a stroll on the yet to-be-connected part of the Schuylkill River Trail in Forgotten Bottom, we noticed the unmistakable architecture of a modified building that we recognized from its renderings. Formerly named known as Penn's South Bank, Pennovation Works is currently a modest construction project on a relatively large piece of land, 23 acres to be exact. The property was previously a Dupont laboratory, and was the site of chemical manufacturing dating back to the 1800s. Now, Penn plans to build a campus of labs, offices, and manufacturing “to bridge the intellectual and entrepreneurial initiatives for advancing knowledge and generating economic development.” The plan notably includes that modified building we mentioned earlier, which will be called the Pennovation Center and was designed by New York-based Hollwich Kushner.
The renovation to this classic industrial building makes it look like a giant broke off a large chunk, leaving some sharp edges that are framed in glass. We're big fans of the architecture. Once the Schuylkill River Trail is connected to this part of the city, the building will be a readily visible landmark to the countless runners and bikers who will pass by every day.
Most of the rest of this property as it approaches the intersection of 34th Street and Grays Ferry Ave is set to be parking and landscaped open space. Two other buildings which used to be administrative and lab space for Dupont will be incorporated into the development as offices and labs.
The current and future tenants, many of whom seem to be spinoffs from Penn-related research and tech companies, are listed on the Pennovation website. From a real estate perspective, we're excited to see this area making strides in the right direction. The Pennovation campus will certainly contribute to the aesthetics of the area and might kick off some smaller scale development projects in Forgotten Bottom and Grays Ferry. When you consider the eventual addition of the Schuylkill River Trail, we're thinking that this area is definitely going to see some big changes in the years to come.