Oxford invests in Philadelphia life science real estate market

Oxford invests in Philadelphia life science real estate market
Image: Oxford Properties

Oxford Properties Group and Ensemble/Mosaic, a joint venture between Ensemble Real Estate Investments and Mosaic Development Group, have entered into a strategic partnership to own and build up to 3 million square feet of life science properties at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia.

The agreement includes Oxford’s investment in five existing life science assets owned by Ensemble Real Estate Investments, and Ensemble/Mosaic’s first two planned life science properties, according to a statement.

In addition, Oxford will look to partner in all future life science projects on sites controlled by Ensemble/Mosaic at the Navy Yard.

Oxford said this is its first investment in Philadelphia and further expands the firm’s extensive life science portfolio, which includes over US$2 billion of investment activity in North America in the past year.

“Building a dedicated life science business of scale remains one of our highest conviction global investment strategies, and our teams continue to do so in a sustained, yet highly targeted fashion,” said Chad Remis, Executive Vice President, North America at Oxford.

“We have a similarly high conviction in Philadelphia, which we believe is poised to become a leading life science market due to the confluence of first-class educational and research institutions plus a rich ecosystem of innovative companies and talent whose growth is being powered by increasing levels of governmental and private funding. The Navy Yard has emerged as the heart of gene and cell therapy, and we are excited to bring our capital and capabilities in partnership with Ensemble/Mosaic to create a world-class life science innovation hub. Importantly, thanks to the vision and experience of Ensemble/Mosaic, it will be done in a way that creates inclusive opportunities for the great city of Philadelphia,” he added.

Key components of the agreement include:

  1. Oxford’s substantial investment in five existing life science buildings in the Navy Yard owned by Ensemble Real Estate Investments: 300, 351 and 400 Rouse Boulevard, and 4701 and 4751 League Island Boulevard, which are fully leased to industry-leading life science companies including Iovance Biotherapeutics, Adaptimmune Therapeutics PLC, and WuXi Advanced Therapies.
  2. Oxford’s substantial investment in the first phase of the partnership’s two new development projects—1201 Normandy Place (a four story, 137,000 square foot lab building) and 333 Rouse Boulevard (a two story, 105,000 square foot lab and GMP building). Construction of both buildings will commence in 2022 on a speculative basis.
  3. Through its agreement with PIDC—Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation, which oversees all management and development of the Navy Yard—the partners envision developing in excess of 2 million square feet of lab and GMP space for companies focused on R&D and commercialization, supplementing the Navy Yard’s vibrant, amenity-filled mixed-use ecosystem.
  4. Ensemble/Mosaic will continue as developer and asset manager, collaborating closely with Oxford. Ensemble will provide property management services for the partnership’s Navy Yard life sciences portfolio.

In 2020, Ensemble/Mosaic announced plans for its US$2.6 billion development plan, designed to further establish the Navy Yard as a vibrant and inclusive mixed-use community.

The joint venture plans for approximately 3,000 residential units and more than 3 million square feet of life science manufacturing, R&D, office, hotels, makerspace and retail space when complete. In addition to 1201 Normandy and 333 Rouse, the $400+ million first phase includes the development a three building residential complex with ground floor retail (including an AVE in partnership with Korman Communities) and a signature adaptive reuse hotel.