PIDC Reports Banner Year at The Navy Yard in 2015 Featuring Robust Growth and Expansion

by Navy Yard
February 12, 2016

PIDC, Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation, announced that The Navy Yard experienced another tremendous year of growth in 2015, adding 12 new businesses and over 500 additional employees, bringing the total counts to 152 companies and 12,000 workers.

“Since its transformation from a closed military facility into a vibrant multi-use campus, The Navy Yard has become a state-of-the-art facility providing an outstanding setting where global companies as well as local, entrepreneurial businesses and start-ups thrive,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.

2015 was a significant year for development at The Navy Yard. PIDC’s commercial development partners, Liberty Property Trust, together with its joint venture partner Synterra Partners, continue to make significant investments at The Navy Yard. In 2015, Liberty/Synterra completed and opened 201 Rouse Boulevard, a four-story, LEED® Gold, 80,050 square foot headquarters building for Franklin Square Capital Partners. Franklin Square is a Philadelphia-based, leading manager of alternative investment funds. This modern office building is targeted to achieve LEED® Gold certification and provides room for Franklin Square’s rapid growth, and offers an innovative working environment surrounded by green space and many employee amenities – ranking it as one of Philadelphia Magazine’s “20 coolest companies” in 2015.

201 Rouse Boulevard; copyright Halkin Mason Photography.
201 Rouse Boulevard; copyright Halkin Mason Photography.

Several research and development companies announced significant expansions or new moves to The Navy Yard in 2015. Long-term tenant WuXi AppTec, Inc., a leading pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device research and development services company with operations in China and the U.S., announced its expansion at The Navy Yard in a newly constructed building developed by Liberty. The new facility is targeting LEED® Gold certification and will be WuXi AppTec’s third facility on campus, bringing the company’s portfolio to more than 290,000 square feet at The Navy Yard.

Rendering of 4701 League Island Blvd, WuXi AppTec's third space at The Navy Yard
Rendering of 4701 League Island Blvd, WuXi AppTec’s third space at The Navy Yard

Axalta Coating Systems, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, announced that its new 175,000 square foot Global Innovation Center will be located at The Navy Yard and targeting LEED® certification. The facility will be the hub of Axalta’s global product research, process development, and related technology initiatives and direct the work of the company’s other technology centers throughout the world. Adaptimmune Therapeutics plc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the use of T-cell therapy to treat cancer, announced plans to locate its U.S. headquarters and clinical operations in a newly developed, 47,400 square foot facility targeting LEED® Gold certification at The Navy Yard. It will house a cGMP manufacturing facility designed to support the clinical development and initial commercialization of Adaptimmune’s novel engineered immunotherapies for cancer. Both buildings are being developed by Liberty/Synterra.

Axalta's Global Innovation Center is designed by Erdy McHenry Architecture.
Axalta’s Global Innovation Center is designed by Erdy McHenry Architecture.
Rendering of Adaptimmune's new  U.S. headquarters, designed by DIGSAU
Rendering of Adaptimmune’s new U.S. headquarters, designed by DIGSAU

Additionally, Liberty/Synterra broke ground on 1200 Intrepid Avenue, a speculative, 91,901 square foot trophy office building in June 2015. This is the first building designed by world-renowned Bjarke Ingles Group in the city of Philadelphia, and its construction appears to defy gravity; the east façade’s white precast panels curve and bow to meet the adjacent park, Central Green. The four-story project is targeting LEED® Gold certification and will be ready for occupancy this summer.

View of 1200 Intrepid Avenue from Corner of Intrepid Avenue and 12th Street - copyright BIG
View of 1200 Intrepid Avenue from Corner of Intrepid Avenue and 12th Street – copyright BIG

“In 2015, Liberty has made its most significant investment in The Navy Yard to date breaking ground on four new buildings and opening the highly anticipated sustainable five-acre park Central Green,” said Brian Cohen, Liberty Property Trust vice president and city manager. “Our tenants are drawn to The Navy Yard’s sense of place and the ability to create their own identity among other leaders in their respective fields from cutting-edge research and development labs to powerhouse financial services institutions. The result is an environment that attracts high-performance talent and fosters innovation and collaboration.”

In total, Liberty/Synterra combined have developed over 1.58 million square feet of land, bringing $550 million dollars of private investment to The Navy Yard.

“The Navy Yard’s continued growth demonstrates the positive impact of our value proposition to growing businesses, specifically companies are choosing The Navy Yard because it offers an unparalleled and dynamic location with flexible capacity to expand, easy access for a broad population of labor and customers, and a collaborative, progressive environment that attracts talent and fuels growth,” said John Grady, President of PIDC. “We look forward to building on this momentum through 2016 and beyond.”

Over the past year, The Navy Yard continued to add new amenities to the campus. The variety of activities and services at The Navy Yard allows employers to attract and retain the most talented workforce. In June 2015, The Navy Yard opened its sixth park, Central Green, a five-acre park set in the heart of the campus. Central Green was developed with a joint investment by Liberty/Synterra, PIDC, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A one-fifth mile jogging track organizes the project and frames a unique, immersive interior park with a hammock grove, sunlawn, conference table, bocce court, table tennis and fitness area. Central Green was designed by James Corner Field Operations, the internationally renowned landscape architecture firm whose notable projects include Philadelphia’s Race Street Pier and New York City’s High Line.

Birdseye view of Central Green; copyright Halkin Mason Photography
Birdseye view of Central Green; copyright Halkin Mason Photography

The Navy Yard also welcomed Mercer Cafe, a second location for the Port Richmond-based restaurant from founder Tom Woltjen and his daughter and restaurant co-owner Liza Bello. The cafe offers its well-known breakfast and lunch menu which includes Tacconelli’s pizza, a grab-and-go market, corporate catering, and private event space. Liza is a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, a partnership between Goldman Sachs, Community College of Philadelphia, PIDC, and Community First Fund.

In addition to these new amenities, The Navy Yard expanded its shuttle program in response to increased demand, adding a fifth bus to the fleet and allowing additional service during peak times and new afternoon options to Center City. Ridership has significantly grown on the shuttles, resulting in a record-breaking 314,000 rides provided to employees and visitors in 2015. In response to this increasing demand, PIDC continues to explore long-term transit options for The Navy Yard, including additional shuttles and the Broad Street Line extension.

The Navy Yard continues to host large and small events including the iconic Broad Street Run, the nation’s largest 10-mile road race and the Great Chefs Event, a fundraiser hosted by Navy Yard headquartered company URBN, Inc. which benefits Vetri Community Partnership and Alex’s Lemonade Stand. In 2015, The Navy Yard added Diner en Blanc, a popular popup picnic, to the roster. Now in its fourth year in Philadelphia, Diner en Blanc organizers chose The Navy Yard for its immersive history, distinctive architecture, easy accessibility and open spaces suitable for use by 4,500 participants. In total, over 50 events took place at The Navy Yard in 2015, involving more than 130,000 visitors.

4,500 sparklers light up The Navy Yard for Diner en Blanc. Photo by Kory Aversa.
4,500 sparklers light up The Navy Yard for Diner en Blanc. Photo by Kory Aversa.

”We are able to attract and retain the best talent in Philadelphia because we are focused on making The Navy Yard the best possible place to come to work. We’re looking forward to adding more amenities and events for both employees and the surrounding community,” said Prema Gupta, PIDC’s Senior Vice President for Navy Yard Planning, Development, and Operations.

In 2016, The Navy Yard will host a revolving roster of new and recurring events, including special events related to the Democratic National Convention. PIDC has partnered with ESM Productions and Vetri Family to make the grounds of The Navy Yard, located adjacent to the Convention venue, available for large and small private events for convention-goers, corporate hospitality groups, and other private events related to the Convention.

Today, The Navy Yard is a thriving 1,200 acre mixed-use campus with 152 companies employing over 12,000 workers occupying more than 7.5 million square feet of office, industrial, manufacturing, and research and development space. It continues to serve as one of the region’s most important centers of employment as it attracts new businesses and investment to Philadelphia.