The Brookings Institution defines Innovation Districts as “geographic areas where leading-edge anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with startups, business incubators and accelerators.” Sound familiar? We were honored when Brookings highlighted the Science Center as a driving force behind University City’s innovation district. This recognition of our assets and our work to support innovation sets the stage for our future growth and expansion. And what a future it is! The Science Center is in the midst of a transformation that will reimagine our physical campus and enhance our impact.
The Science Center is partnering with Wexford Science & Technology, a BioMed Realty company, to essentially double the size of our campus. Together, we will explore joint development opportunities, including the former University City High School site adjacent to the Science Center, as well as additional sites on the existing Science Center campus. All in, we anticipate developing up to an additional 4 million square feet of office, lab, residential, retail and parking facilities over the next 10+ years.
This partnership is primed to create a new environment of innovation and collaboration that will accelerate University City’s role as the fastest-growing economic engine and destination for innovation in Philadelphia and the region—and help make University City recognized as a world-class innovation hub.
But the impact extends far beyond real estate and infrastructure. Our alliance with Wexford will also enable the Science Center to leverage our 52 years of experience as we expand our programs that support business incubation, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Ultimately, growing the Science Center will increase the opportunities for Greater Philadelphia to start, build, keep, and attract high-tech companies that will lead the way in solving our citizens’ most pressing problems.
Innovation Plaza will be the first of several indoor and outdoor gathering places to be created as we develop the expanded campus. Located on the walkway along 37th Street, the new Innovation Plaza is designed as an active place for people who work and live within and around the Science Center campus to relax, socialize, work and play. When it opens in the fall of 2015, Innovation Plaza will be a vibrant space that reflects the community it serves, offering a place of interaction and connection, inspiring possibilities and supporting a creative culture. It will also be home to the Innovators Walk of Fame. With vibrant plantings, chess tables, and spots to just stop, sit and ponder, we’re creating an environment that inspires ideas and reflects the dynamic energy of the Science Center, our neighborhood, and our partners and stakeholders.