Philly Bioscience Expansion Planned South of University City along Schuylkill River
[Map of Philadelphia from University City to the Navy Yard, courtesy of PlanPhilly]
"Schuylkill" means hidden river in Dutch. That description is particularly apt today, when the Lower Schuylkill is cut off from the rest of the city by a maze of transportation and industrial infrastructure that looks distinctly more 19th and Early 20th than 21st Century. Most people have never seen this section of the river that meets the Delaware at the redeveloped Navy Yard. But all that is set to change soon as Philadelphia capitalizes on its recent growth and emergence as a bioscience hub with plans to rebuild the hidden river frontage as a home for more research and cleantech businesses.
The Philly district referred to as University City includes the powerhouse University of Pennsylvania, plus Drexel University, the University of the Sciences, and the startup incubator University City Science Center (read our earlier blog on this unique and very successful urban research park). Just across the river in Center City is the academic health center, Thomas Jefferson University. There are also 3 Penn State campuses in the Philadelphia area. To quote UPenn's Harris Steinberg, director of the design school PennPraxis:
Philadelphia is experiencing the first shoots of rebirth after a 50-year decline, with a bump in population, an uptick in small-business development, and an explosion of the educational and medical sectors. The Lower Schuylkill is the locus of that burgeoning economic future.
Where else in the city do we have access to the airport, highways, rail lines, and ship traffic near 68 percent of the city's vacant and underused industrial land? Where else do we see the medical and tech sectors of University City bursting at the seams - with 65,000 jobs and more than $1.1 billion in National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation funding?
This championing of the 4,100-acre Lower Schuylkill zone (see the big white swath in the map above) as a locus for tech expansion is exactly what the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. and the city's Commerce Department and Planning Commission have been up to with a series of recent workshops to include the public in the remaking of the waterfront in the city's official plan . According to the website PlanPhilly:
The three organizations [listed above], with financial support from the William Penn Foundation and City of Philadelphia, are in the process of drafting the Lower Schuylkill River Master Plan, a strategy they hope will maximize the area’s potential, reconnect it with the city and provide access to recreational opportunities along the river itself.
The experiment in repurposing industrial land in Philadelphia has already begun at the former Navy Yard, with promising results. The 1,200-acre waterfront development is anchored by the Navy's federal research lab: the Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station (NAVSSES), with over 1,800 employees, a $500M annual budget and $1 billion in facility investment. Building on this research orientation, the Navy Yard was designated by the city as a Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ), which has:
- Helped more than 100 entrepreneurs, attracted 7 start-up technology companies, and advanced major Penn State University research programs and commercialization initiatives.
- Worked with The Ben Franklin Technology Partners to convert an historic structure to the Building 100 Innovation Center, a 30,000 square-foot regional hub for research and development and commercialization of physical and engineering science.
- Attracted companies like AppTec Laboratory Services, Freedom Sciences, and Iroko Pharmaceuticals, as well as others.
[Philadelphia Navy Yard development, a model for future industrial repurposing, drawing courtesy of the Navy Yard photo gallery]
Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. knows just how dynamic and burgeoning the Philadelphia bioscience sector is. Each year in May we hold two popular life science tradeshow events in the City of Brotherly Love:
- Philadelphia BioResearch Product Faire at UPenn, May 16, 2012
- Thomas Jefferson BioResearch Product Faire FrontLine event at Thomas Jefferson Univ, May 17, 2012
For information on exhibiting at either of these events, click the buttons below:
Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. is a full-service event marketing and planning company producing on-campus life science research tradeshows nationwide for going on 19 years. We plan and promote each event to bring the best products and services to the best research campuses across the country. Life science researchers, purchasing agents, and lab managers are actively invited to attend to see the latest products and equipment and discuss their laboratory tool and service needs. See our nationwide show schedule for 2012.