Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is increasing its footprint on the east side of Schuylkill, adding a second elevation adjacent to the 20-story Roberts Center for Pediatric Research.
At 14 stories, the new Schuylkill Avenue Research building will complement the existing tower by offering a distinct form of research space. CHOP is looking for a sponsor to christen the Temple, as the Roberts family of Comcast did for their neighbor.
The new building will add 250,000 square feet of “wet lab” space, a term for laboratories used to research biological or chemical materials. Across its real estate properties, CHOP already provides 800,000 square feet of wet lab space, but the Roberts Center focuses on administrative and meeting space as well as “dry labs” that focus more on patient experiences and computational or policy work.
“At this campus, we will be looking for new opportunities for cell and gene therapies and ways to develop vaccines or target the immune system to promote health,” said Sue Forth, chief scientific officer at CHOP. “It will be a next-generation research campus entirely dedicated to improving children’s health. Philadelphia is really up and coming in this area, right behind Boston.”
The building comes like Philadelphia Making big bets on the life sciencesa recruitment sector that has proven to be more resilient in the face of the growing trend of working from home A traditional office space during the pandemic. Biomedical and pharmaceutical business cannot be done from home, and the market is growing in the university town, Navy Yard, King of Prussia, And even downtown.
CHOP believes this new work setting will continue to produce fewer workers on its buildings at any time, as evidenced by the fact that the Schuylkill Avenue Research Building will not include any new parking. There are already 404 parking spaces on the site and it is believed to be sufficient even after the new structure is completed. CHOP has not provided the exact number of workers it expects to be based outside the new building.
“Search intensity is not the same as an office building,” said Donald Moore, senior vice president of CHOP Real Estate, Utilities and Operations. “It will be less severe than what we have at the Roberts Center now [in terms of the number of people coming to the building]. “
The building will include 33,000 square feet of office space and 6,500 square feet of retail space, with a planned restaurant or café with an entrance near the South Street Bridge. The Roberts Building currently hosts an establishment called the Waterfront Cafe which is open to the public, but CHOP acknowledges that its existence is little known to those who do not work in the establishment.
They hope that the new café, which will be visible from the street, will be a boon to the public, add more amenities to the surrounding residential area, and provide a collaboration space for CHOP workers.
“If you consider the dearth of food service facilities in this particular community, and the amount of foot traffic that crosses our location per day, it should be a very attractive proposition for someone,” Moore said.
The plan for the new structure was developed by the international architecture firm Cannon Design and was well received when presented to Civil Design Review Board of Philadelphiaa municipality-appointed team of architects and planners who review large real estate developments.
The Schuylkill Avenue Research Building will look similar to the Roberts Center, but with darker materials and lighting. The designers drew on lessons from the previous building about the toll glass skyscrapers can take to bird life. Ornithologists think so Between 350 million and one billion birds die every year in the United States because Reflective glass confuses themThey fly into buildings at full speed.
“It has taken us a lot of time and effort to try and address the fact that many of the high altitudes along the Schuylkill River migratory bird path are magnets for migratory birds,” said John Roach, head of office architecture at Canon Design. “In our cladding choices and brick patterns, we’ve tried proven measures to help reduce the incidence of bird strikes here.”
Hurricane Ida also provided a lesson for CHOP, as last year’s flooding caused elevator and parking problems at the Roberts Center. Although Moore couldn’t provide immediate details, he said the foundation will convene an expert panel this week to discuss how to protect the new building from the 100-year-old flood events that are expected to be more frequent than ever.
The general plan for further construction on the site has been anticipated for some time. The foundation has already been laid for the Schuylkill Avenue Research Building, which has been cited by community groups as an example of good neighborliness for CHOP – construction is expected to be less disruptive because the site was prepared for new construction years in advance.
Unusually, for a building of this size next to a residential area, it was very well received by neighbors and community groups.
“If the former is a salt shaker, the newer is like a pepper shaker, they go well together,” said Murray Spencer, zoning chair for the Southern Neighborhood Association.