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Philadelphia’s Transformative Waterfront Campus

Monday, December 12, 2016

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By SIte Selection Magazine

Philadelphia is not only the first capital of the United States — where the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and crafted the United States Constitution — but also home to the country’s early robust naval defense infrastructure.  

Over the next 200 years, the U.S. Navy developed and implemented its national defense intelligence strategy, and built and repaired scores of state-of-the-arts ships here. Beginning in 1996, the historic Philadelphia Naval Shipyard complex began a transformative rebirth and has re-emerged as The Navy Yard. The facility Politico magazine recently called “The Coolest Shipyard in America” is an award-winning magnet for new businesses, employment, and investment that global companies large and small now call home.  

Today, history is again unfolding at this unique and dynamic south Philadelphia complex where 152 companies employ more than 12,000 people across 1,200 acres and 7.5 million sq. ft. of office, lab, classroom, retail, manufacturing and research space.

The R&D heritage of The Navy Yard continues across a portfolio of companies and industries, including defense, energy and materials. That heritage also applies to a life sciences cluster of companies that includes the institutions (University of Pennsylvania, Vincera Institute), and capital (Phoenix IP Ventures, Ben Franklin Technology Partners) to support them.

Managed by PIDC, Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation, the campus has the remaining land capacity “to create the largest urban life sciences cluster in the United States.”

That’s no small goal. But there’s no reason to think small in a metro area that’s been known for its healthcare and life sciences innovation nearly as long as it’s been known as a cradle of democracy. 

As a city and region of “firsts” — the first hospital, medical school, and pharmacy school, the first separation of Siamese twins, and, more recently, the first pediatric double-hand transplant — it’s only natural that The Navy Yard is now emerging as the East Coast epicenter for life sciences R&D. And at the core of that healthcare clustering is GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the first global companies to locate its North American operations at The Navy Yard.

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Category: Site Selection Magazine, News