PHILADELPHIA, PA – Today Ensemble Real Estate Investments announced that it closed on the purchase of three large Life Sciences facilities occupied by WuXi Advanced Therapies, Inc. (“WuXi”), in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard. The properties, located at 4701 and 4751 League Island Boulevard and 400 Rouse Boulevard, comprise a collective 366,803 square feet. The deal pressed forward despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating the Long Beach, California -based company’s capabilities to execute despite market conditions and its commitment and confidence in the Navy Yard as a world-class Life Sciences hub.
The closing on the WuXi facilities expands Ensemble’s Navy Yard Life Sciences footprint to a total of five properties that represent approximately 550,000 square feet and $155 million invested. Its other two Life Sciences properties are Adaptimmune Therapeutics’ United States headquarters and the currently under-construction Iovance Biotherapeutics facility, where they are the co-developer. All five buildings house (or will soon house) manufacturing, laboratory, R&D, and office space to support clinical development and initial commercialization of novel engineered immunotherapies, including gene and cell therapy. These five buildings, coupled with Ensemble’s previous investments in office and hotel properties, bring the company’s Navy Yard portfolio to include over 1.1 million square feet and four pad-ready development sites representing $360 million of investment.
“Ensemble is proud to partner with WuXi to support their important work in developing advanced and life-sustaining therapies in the years to come,” said Mark Seltzer, Senior Vice President of Development for Ensemble. “The Navy Yard’s proximity to the highway network and the airport, along with its unique ability to accommodate large format low rise buildings in an urban environment has made it incredibly attractive to WuXi and many other Life Sciences companies, positioning it as a critical component of our regional economy.”
AppTec, which was acquired by WuXi PharmaTech in 2008, was one of the very first companies to move to the Navy Yard in 2004, when it opened a 75,000-square-foot contract testing and manufacturing facility. Over the following 16 years, WuXi further expanded its Navy Yard presence to accommodate a growing demand for non-viral cell therapy manufacturing, GMP manufacturing of viral vectors, and in 2017 set up its Advanced Therapy Unit to enhance U.S.-based cell and gene therapies. Most recently, WuXi opened a new 140,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art advanced therapies testing facility at 400 Rouse Boulevard which more than doubles WuXi’s testing capacity for gene and cell therapies in an effort to support the evolving demands of the company’s clients and increases the company’s Navy Yard footprint to over 400,000 square feet of lab and GMP space. The horizontal configuration of the building, which spans longer than a city block, is ideal for lab and GMP uses by providing for maximum flexibility to support critical building infrastructure required by these highly specialized users. 400 Rouse has also achieved LEED-CS Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council making it one of the largest LEED Gold life science buildings in Philadelphia.
In addition to its most recent investment, Ensemble has also added two former senior professionals from Liberty Property Trust in Brian Cohen and Mark Seltzer to its team which further underscores Ensemble’s commitment to Life Sciences, Philadelphia, and the Navy Yard. At Liberty, Seltzer served as Vice President of Leasing & Development, and Cohen as Vice President and Market Officer. They collectively oversaw the acquisition, development, and marketing of millions of square feet and over a billion dollars of commercial real estate including the development of multiple laboratory and GMP facilities. They will now use their expertise to lead Ensemble’s East Coast operations with support from the company’s national team.
“Ensemble’s decades long track record of successfully executing development projects across all asset classes and their ability to effectively raise capital, creates a platform well positioned an aggressive growth strategy in Philadelphia and the region.” said Brian Cohen, Senior Vice President and Regional Director for Ensemble. “These attributes, coupled with the team’s vast experience envisioning and creating exceptional projects will serve to further attract leading-edge companies throughout our portfolio.”
The East Region of Ensemble will have the opportunity to continue to grow the company’s presence at the Navy Yard, as Ensemble and its partner, Mosaic Development Partners, were recently selected to develop 109 acres at the Navy Yard by the PIDC. Together, Ensemble and Mosaic intend to invest over $2.5 billion to create a vibrant and robust mixed-use campus that will include office, residential, retail, and further expansion of the Life Sciences by creating a Life Sciences ecosystem with companies which produce necessary raw materials, contract manufacturers, and shared GMP manufacturing providers from around the country.
About Ensemble Real Estate Investments
Over the past 40 years, Ensemble has successfully invested and developed over $2 billion in real estate across the United States, offering state-of-the-art property solutions in the healthcare, hospitality, commercial, and urban multi-family and mixed-use sectors. A widely respected leader in its industry, Ensemble has revolutionized the art of master planning, delivering iconic and strategically engineered facilities and beautifully preserved historic buildings—all designed to transform and inspire the communities they serve.
Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Ensemble also has offices in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Reno, and, most recently, Philadelphia. For more information, please visit www.ensemble.net.
About WuXi Advanced Therapies, Inc.
The advanced therapies business unit of WuXi AppTec is a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) that is reducing the complexities of manufacturing by providing integrated platforms that enable cell and gene therapies to be developed, manufactured, and released faster and with greater predictability. For more information, please visit: www.advancedtherapies.com
About Philadelphia’s Navy Yard
The Navy Yard is considered the most successful redevelopment of a former military facility in the country. A thriving riverfront neighborhood, the Navy Yard currently features more than 7.5 million square feet of buildings housing more than 15,000 employees working at over 170 companies. PIDC, Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation and master developer of the Navy Yard, announced in July the selection of a team comprised of Ensemble Real Estate Investments and Mosaic Development Partners as its development partner for 109 acres at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The next phase of development will further establish the Navy Yard as a world-class business, manufacturing, R&D, and life sciences hub, and will include the creation of a vibrant mixed-use district including retail, makerspace, and residential.
Home to both historic structures and new high-performance and LEED certified development, the Navy Yard offers diverse, flexible building choices with varying heights, vintages, and floorplates, all powered by a nationally recognized microgrid and oriented around miles of riverfront access and world-class open space. Future growth will support up to 10 million square feet of commercial and residential development.
PIDC, Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation, is the master developer of the Navy Yard. For more information, please visit www.navyyard.org.
About Life Sciences at the Navy Yard
The Navy Yard is home to one of the highest concentrations of privately leased Life Science space in the city of Philadelphia with more than 800,000 square feet. The tenants span a wide variety of specialties including a large cluster of leading-edge companies like WuXi Advanced Therapies, which is devoted to cell and gene therapy. As a result, the Navy Yard is a hub for attracting top talent in the Life Sciences fields with more than 2,500 employees in this sector working on the campus. The diversity among these companies encompasses large corporate offices (GSK), established and emerging companies (WuXi AppTec, Iovance Biotherapeutics, Adaptimmune, and Coriell Life Sciences), educational institutions (Vincera Institute, Jefferson Health), and related capital ventures (Ben Franklin Technology Partners) among others.