Philadelphia’s Investment in Innovation

Spirit of Innovation

Philadelphia is experiencing an impressive acceleration of development. Much of the growth is taking place in the University City neighborhood, powered by renowned educational institutions, research centers and pioneering companies that have transformed the city into what the Brookings Institution has called a “top knowledge hub in the U.S. and Europe.” The spirit of innovation continues across the Schuylkill River to Center City with progressive partnerships and groundbreaking advancement at some of the city’s top institutions and businesses. With the fastest growing millennial population among the 10 largest cities in the country and inventive projects on the horizon, Philadelphia exudes a vibrant character and energy, creating an ideal location for a meeting or visit.

Schuylkill Yards rendering by SHoP/West8


  • A 20-year, three-and-a-half-billion-dollar collaborative project between Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust.
  • When completed, it will span 14 acres with multiple public spaces and several new high-rises to be occupied by labs, hotels, retail spaces, residential units and offices.
  • Already under construction is Drexel Square, a 1.3-acre elliptical park across from 30th Street Station, expected to open in June, 2019. Later in 2019, the former Philadelphia Bulletin newspaper building will be renovated as the flagship for the project. The 1950s-era building was designed by George Howe, the architect of the PSFS Building (now the Loews Hotel), the first International Style building in the U.S. The plan for the ground floor is to be reserved for retail and restaurants.
  • This exciting project will unite Philadelphia’s Center City business district with University City’s rapidly expanding research hub and will bring new jobs to the neighborhood, while retaining the city’s top-notch student population after graduation.


  • Penn’s FDA-Approved CAR-T Cell Therapy – Home to the first gene therapy approved by the FDA, Penn Medicine is leading the world in immunotherapy research. A personalized cellular therapy, CAR-T cell therapy trains healthy cells to hunt down and eliminate cancer cells.
  • The Pavilion – A one-and-a-half-billion-dollar hospital of the future from the University of Pennsylvania will serve as the flagship of Penn Medicine. The 17-story hospital will equal the length of two football fields, with 500 private patient rooms, 47 operating rooms and one acre of green space. The high-tech center will offer hybrid surgical centers and tele-medical functionality. Anticipated opening is 2021 and is being designed by Sir Norman Foster, architect of the Comcast Technology Center.


  • A joint project between Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Drexel University and SEPTA.
  • The six-and-a-half-billion-dollar, 35-year district plan will enhance Amtrak’s third-busiest station, increasing its capacity to a projected 20 to 25 million passenger trips a year.
  • Will include 40 acres of open space and 18 million square feet of development, creating a mixed-use neighborhood that sits atop 88 acres of rail yards.


  • Created to offer a concentrated dose of business teaching, mentoring and networking over a 13-week period.
  • Adminstered by Techstars, an organization that runs close to 40 accelerators around the world.
  • Philadelphia is one of the only cities in the country to have a public-private seed fund dedicated to startups.


  • A one-billion-dollar, 6.5 million-square-foot project between the University City Science Center and Wexford Science + Technology with public and mixed-use spaces, including residential units, retail office, lab and clinical space.
  • The goal is to develop a live-work community.


  • Includes the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing – the first and only in North America.
  • “Command central” for innovation activities at Jefferson, including events related to the Innovation Engagement Speaker Series and hackathons. Serves as a platform to engage and unleash creative, entrepreneurial talent.


  • Opened in September 2016.
  • A 58,000-square-foot business incubator and lab designed to foster entrepreneurial activity and help bring research discoveries to market.
  • Home to Johnson & Johnson’s JPOD, a networking hub that provides training, mentoring and networking programs for local entrepreneurs and accelerates early-stage healthcare breakthroughs and innovations.


  • Independence Health Group (parent of Independence Blue Cross) and Comcast launched a patient-centered technology and communications platform to improve the overall efficiency and experience of the care delivery process between providers and patients.


  • One-billion-dollar annual R&D investment by University City institutions and an almost thirteen billion-dollar annual economic impact by University City Science Center-incubated businesses.
  • Large millennial population: 64% of college graduates stay in region, 40% of the University City population is made up of millennials.
  • More than 750 patents for University City institutions (2010-2015) and 3.2 billion in National Institute of Health funding (2010-2014).

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