Drexel University has decided not to move its medical labs to Montgomery County and will instead remain at the former Hahnemann University Hospital site on North Broad Street while a new research building is constructed on its University City campus.
Drexel has signed a lease for at least six years for the entire 590,000-square-foot New College Building at 15th and Vine Streets, said Alan Greenberger, Drexel’s vice president of real estate and facilities.
The labs currently occupy most of that building, where its current lease expires next year, along with a facility that Drexel owns at the school’s Queen Lane Campus in East Falls.
The lease is meant to buy Drexel time to work with developer Wexford Science & Technology on a new building for the labs near the College of Nursing and Health Professions building underway for the university by Wexford at 36th and Filbert Streets, Greenberger said.
“We want it near there,” Greenberger said. “There’s a lot of crossover.”
Greenberger had said in March that Drexel was considering moving the labs from the Hahnemann site and the Queen Lane Campus to GlaxoSmithKline’s former pharmaceutical plant in Montgomery County, part of a planned network of lab and office buildings dubbed Discovery Labs.
The University of Pennsylvania announced last month that its gene therapy program had signed a 150,000-square-foot lease at the GSK building in King of Prussia.
Drexel was able to remain at the New College Building on the Hahnemann campus after negotiating a new lease with its soon-to-be owners, Iron Stone Real Estate Partners, that involves repairs and improvements to the property, including new elevator machinery and upgraded ventilation systems, Greenberger said.
Iron Stone is under contract to buy the campus’ New College Building and other properties comprising about 800,000 square feet currently owned by Harrison Street Real Estate Capital of Chicago.
The deal does not include the attached main hospital tower at Broad and Vine Streets or other properties owned by California-based investment banker Joel Freedman, who teamed with Harrison Street to buy Hahnemann in 2018.
“We’re happy that we’re able to provide some resolution to the uncertainty at Hahnemann and provide Drexel with some time, space and flexibility to build the future of their medical school where they want it,” said Jason Friedland, an Iron Stone partner.