Renderings Revealed for Ultra Labs University City at 100 North 32nd Street in University City, West Philadelphia

Rendering of the tower via Scheer Partners.

Renderings have been revealed for Ultra Labs University City, a mixed-use high-rise proposed at 100 North 32nd Street in University CityWest Philadelphia. The building will stand 11 stories tall and hold 185,279 square feet of office and laboratory space, contributing to the city’s rapidly growing life sciences industry. The tower will likely rise somewhere between 160 and 190 feet tall, high enough to be easily noticeable from its position next to the rail yard and across from the Schuylkill River. The tower is expected to cost $190 million to build.

The tower will boast a modern, all-glass façade, with a shape unlike any other in the city. The footprint responds to the curving rail line with a serrated massing on the lower floors, which will measure 31,706 square feet each. Smooth façades face the west and south sides. The upper tower portion of the tower features a blocky yet slender shape, with each floor plate holding 17,495 square feet. Floor-to-floor heights vary from 14 to 21 feet, resulting in an overall building height much taller than that of a typical 11-story structure.

Rendering of the tower via Scheer Partners.

The tower will replace a single-story structure and surface lot located on an irregular site situated between North 32nd Street and SEPTA’s Powelton Yard. Despite not being the tallest building in University City, the tower will stand due to its location on the edge of the skyline and will be highly noticeable from many locations along the Schuylkill River as well as the Drexel University campus. In the long term, the project will serve to transition the skyline from the skyscrapers planned at Schuylkill Yards and 30th Street Station District to the nearby low-rise neighborhood of Powelton Village, in tandem with the 205-foo-tall Vue32, completed nearby in 2017.

University City skyline from the northeast. Vue 32 is located to the far left in the image. The new tower will sit to the left of the photos edge. Credit: Colin LeStourgeon.

The fact that new office and lab space is being proposed in University City despite the millions of square feet proposed and under construction within the abovementioned mega-developments is a great sign for the neighborhood. At this pace, University will be rapidly catching up to Center City in the amount of office space. The building will be a part of the massive transformation of the University City skyline into a massive central business district.

Unofficial rendering of the development from the rear. Image by Google, edit by Colin LeStourgeon.

Completion is anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2023, so construction would need to start soon in order to keep up with the timeline.

Rendering of the tower via Republic Realty.

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4 Comments on "Renderings Revealed for Ultra Labs University City at 100 North 32nd Street in University City, West Philadelphia"

  1. This is a fantastic addition. As noted, it will be highly visible with no buildings to its east and will serve as an attractive “front layer” as you look into the UCity cluster.

    So while it is great news, I must apologize as I add a bit of a rant. Brandywine’s Schuylkill Yards is beyond disappointing. They gobbled up the premium tracts, boasted about a transformational project, and so far we have . . . an improvement to one side of an old blocky building? Meanwhile, UCity Square has become a crane farm, projects like this one, 3.0 University Place, and others are popping up all around the edges. The hospital complex is squeezing value out of every available square inch of land. Brandywine is being cautious to the point of getting outflanked by everyone. At this point I would prefer that they just sold their land holdings to a real developer.

  2. Who is the design team?

  3. So far, all we’ve been getting are low & mid rise towers.
    I’ve been waiting since 1999 for the 30th Street District master plan.

    I’ll be a senior citizen by the time the real skyscrapers start construction at this pace!

  4. I have to agree with the comments above. Schuylkill Yards has been such a disapointment! Literally, in the five or so years since rolling the plan out, they have renovated the side of the Bulletin Building and created a grass square. I know real estate development is a slow process, but this has been awful. I even doubt that the red skycrapprer will ever be built.

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