It seems as if every other week we have news of a large life sciences building going up in some part of the city. The University City area has dominated these types of developments thus far (honorable mention to the Navy Yard), but this time it appears that just a short jaunt across the river has something in store for us. The Pennovation Campus has set up shop in Grays Ferry since 2016, bringing us one of the cooler modern buildings in the entire city from HWKN as the current campus focal point.

3 Aerial View Along Pennovation Walk & 35th Street
A bird's eye view of the new buildings

If you’ve been by the campus, you have likely noticed the large grassy field on the eastern side of the property, facing 34th Street. For those of you who are like us and immediately thought “Hmm…I wonder if Penn is thinking of expanding here,” chalk one up in the win column. Let’s check out an aerial of the site and how it looks now.

View from Grays Ferry Avenue shows large amount of open space
1 View From Grays Ferry Ave & 34th Street Intersection
View of the new building which will welcome visitors to the campus
View of the site from 34th St.
Aerial of the campus shows proximity to University City across the river, with the property highlighted in orange

Per recent news from Penn, there will be a new addition to 3401 Grays Ferry Ave., right where you see that shaded square above. This side of the river is getting into the action with a $365M investment to create a multi-purpose building consisting of research and biomanufacturing space. This cohabitating of research and production aligns with what we have been seeing in other parts of town, where there seems to be an insatiable appetite for manufacturing space within the, ahem, Cellicon Valley. Nearly half a million square feet will be part of this new complex, designed by Jacobs Architecture. This project is doubly exciting in that this is the first foray into Philly for Longfellow Real Estate Partners, the “largest private life science real estate services firm” in the country.

The wildly cool Pennovation Center, viewed here from the west
3 Aerial View Along Pennovation Walk & 35th Street
Aerial view shows new building coming to the campus
Current view of the auto-centric corner at 34th & Grays Ferry isn't exactly a gorgeous entryway

It is truly incredible as yet another area of the city turns into a mini hub for life sciences. In case it hasn’t been apparent from our constant reporting, this industry is well positioned to be a key component of Philly’s economy both now and into the future. Let’s hope that innovations (and pennovations) continue to pour out of this important work… and that maybe we get some more cool buildings here and there as a byproduct.