Thursday, October 8, 2015

University of Pennsylvania plans new campus in South Philly

Research, companies, buses at "South Bank"

University of Pennsylvania plans new campus in South Philly

The former DuPont Marshall Laboratory property, acquired by Penn for $13 million, has "infinite possibilities" as a place to nurture small businesses and "technology transfer," where faculty with "great discoveries can attract venture capital" and bring ideas to market, said Penn president Amy Gutmann in 2012. (Luis Fernando Rodriguez / Staff Photographer)

The University of Pennsylvania plans a research and product commercialization park on the former DuPont Co. paint factory, on the east bank of the Schuylkill near the Grays Ferry section south of Penn's campus, the university said today.

The "South Bank" plan, drafted for Penn by locally-based planning firm WRT, will join students, teachers and outside business interests to "accelerate the formation of new, University-based business ventures" and will promote development of the aging industrial Schuylkill corridor as envisioned by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. (a joint venture of the city and its chamber of commerce), Penn president Amy Gutmann said in a statement. The project as designed will need city water, street and other approvals.

"The South Bank will be anchored by the Pennovation Center, a new business incubator and accelerator" including both new tenants and existing tenants -- which include Penn Vet Working Dog Center (studies police K-9 units), the Penn Dental Research Greenhouse, the Penn School of Arts & Sciences Bio Garden, and a "sustainable fueling station" for Penn Transit, the university buses already stored on the site. Also KMEL Robotics, which grew out of Penn's engineering drone lab; Novatheraputics (diabetes drugs); Jin+Ja, health drinks; Edible Philly, a publishing office; and the Free Library's operations center. Penn hopes to grow the comlex from 200,000 sq ft of current offices and labs to as much as 1.5 million sq ft after 20 years.  See also

Penn adds that about 50 people work on the site at present; the built-out Center would employ more than 100; other entities could add hundreds more jobs there.

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at,, 215.854.5194 or 302.652.2004.

Reach Joseph N. at or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
Also on
letter icon Newsletter