How About Another New Lab for University City?

Please forgive us if we sound like a broken record, but Philadelphia’s booming life sciences scene is seemingly ravenous for lab space. And coming out of nowhere, the largest of them all may be on the way. Towards the eastern edge of Drexel’s campus directly next to the Armory, the beloved Buckley Field at 3201 Cuthbert St. will soon move from soccer to science as the campus continues to reinvent itself.

View looking west from across 32nd of Buckley Field/future lab
View of site looking southeast from 33rd & Arch
Close up of the Armory to the south, now Arlen Spector US Squash Center

Thanks to a report from the Philadelphia Business Journal and a press release from Drexel, we know that Drexel is partnering with Gattuso Development Partners on massive 500K sqft lab, which would be the largest such facility in the city. The 11-story building that will house the lab is designed by the world-renowned Robert A. M. Stern Architects and sports stacked volumes, with an interesting chasm on the northern- and eastern-facing sides. We don’t have many more details, but this $400M project will be designed specifically for scientific purposes and is already 55% leased up. Not bad for a project that’s anticipating breaking ground this fall. But enough talk, let’s see the renderings!

View looking north, with the Armory in the foreground
An aerial view of the planned lab space on the eastern edge of Drexel's campus

Clearly, this would be an enormous change to this part of campus. Its location within blocks of 30th Street Station certainly doesn’t hurt its appeal, as it will make the building especially transit friendly for folks coming from all points around the city and beyond. And for those wondering about the loss of the rec facility, fear not – plans are afoot to demolish Myers Hall up the street from this site at 33rd & Race to make room for new fields. Oh, and let’s not forget about the Ultra Labs proposal just across 32nd Street.

Aerial view of Ultra Labs, planned to rise across 32nd Street

And if you thought that was the only lab update we had for you, get ready for a surprise. We recently told you about another proposal for the former Abner’s Cheesesteaks spot at the corner of 38th & Chestnut. Thanks to a press release from Newmark, we know that the site changed hands recently. Included in the announcement is a conceptual rendering for what could rise at the site. But let’s remember: this is just an idea of what could be built, so we’d expect to see some changes/refinements as we get more details. Seeing the sustained momentum for life sciences in this part of the city is extremely encouraging as our fair city continues to solidify itself as a growing hub in the industry.

A conceptual rendering of what could be in store at 38th & Chestnut
A reminder of the current situation at 38th & Chestnut