Two developers leading a major redevelopment push at the Navy Yard have partnered up with another firm to create a three-million-square-foot life science hub at the former military base.
Mosaic Development Partners and Ensemble Real Estate Investments, which were chosen in 2020 for a 109-acre redevelopment plan at the Navy Yard, have joined up with Oxford Properties Group to jointly own and develop as much as three million square feet of life science properties.
The agreement will see Oxford invest in five existing biotech buildings already owned by Ensemble Real Estate Investments and the two planned biotech buildings from Ensemble and Mosaic. Those two buildings ― a lab and office building and a drug-manufacturing plant ― are part of the first phase of development under the deal that Ensemble and Mosaic have with the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., which manages the Navy Yard on the city’s behalf.
Oxford will also partner with Ensemble and Mosaic for future projects at the South Philadelphia property, according to the statement. Ensemble and Mosaic will stay on as developers and asset managers.
“Building a dedicated life science business of scale remains one of our highest-conviction global investment strategies, and our teams continue to do so in a sustained, yet highly targeted, fashion,” Chad Remis, executive vice president, North America at Oxford, said in a statement. “We have a similarly high conviction in Philadelphia, which we believe is poised to become a leading life science market due to the confluence of first-class educational and research institutions plus a rich ecosystem of innovative companies and talent whose growth is being powered by increasing levels of governmental and private funding.”
The planned life science hub is all part of the sprawling $2.6 billion project that Ensemble and Mosaic have already begun. The developers have also committed $1 billion to hiring workers and contractors from underrepresented groups and instituting other diversity measures over the next two decades.
The partners — Oxford now included — have pledged to employ a 35% diverse construction workforce with half of the workers coming from the Philadelphia region.
The Tuesday announcement is the latest in a wave of laboratories and biotech buildings that have popped up in the Navy Yard and across Philadelphia. The South Philly Navy Yard has morphed into a health and life sciences hub, with such companies as Rite Aid relocating to the site.
Lab projects have also sprouted up throughout Philadelphia, as the biotech industry continues to grow in the city.
Spark Therapeutics, a Philadelphia-based gene therapy company, plans to invest $575 million to build a laboratory and manufacturing center on Drexel University’s campus. Iron Stone Real Estate Partners plans to turn one of the buildings on the former Hahnemann University Hospital complex into research and development labs. And the Plymouth Group plans to turn the former Budd Co. Hunting Park plant into drug manufacturing and lab space.