Scheer Partners, the specialty scientific real estate firm that recently opened a Philadelphia office, expects The Curtis to increasingly play a leading role in meeting the comprehensive space needs of Philadelphia’s surging life sciences community, according to officials of the firm that just entered a representation agreement with Keystone Property Group, Inc., owner of the iconic building.
Founder-President Robert Scheer said, “Because The Curtis was originally built for print manufacturing and publishing distribution, the building was designed and engineered to carry the weight – and accommodate the vibration tolerances – of massive printing presses. For companies in the rapidly growing and evolving life sciences fields, the iconic Curtis meets all of the specifications which are vital to the engineering of life science spaces.” He added that Scheer is in active negotiations with several prospective life sciences tenants and expects to soon sign leases totaling upwards of 100,000 sq. ft. of The Curtis space.
“Imvax, Inc. (www.imvax.com), the pioneering immunotherapy vaccine developer started by nearby Thomas Jefferson Hospital researchers and clinicians (including neuro-oncology chief Dr. David Andrews), is the extraordinary life sciences anchor tenant in the building and one visit to its space convinces others of the suitability of the space, from offices and conference rooms through its state-of-the-art labs,” he added.
Tim Conrey, director of Scheer’s Philadelphia office, and the broker on the IMVAX transaction, said, “IMVAX demonstrated to the life sciences community that The Curtis has every attribute of an ideal scientific real estate environment, including an unbeatable location for the benefit of the employees and visitors, in a Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ), at an enticing price point when compared to other parts of the city and region. “Our clients marvel at the fact the space is move-in ready to the extent that it already accommodates specialized and highly vibration-sensitive scientific equipment and air purification systems,” he added. “The original Curtis publishing-building infrastructure – from heavy-duty reinforced floors to soaring ceilings – adapts perfectly to the needs of 21st century life sciences,” he added. Besides the sprawling main Thomas Jefferson academic-medical campus, The Curtis is also within blocks of Pennsylvania Hospital, America’s First Hospital, Farm Journal Building of the University of Pennsylvania, and Wills Eye Hospital. Jefferson is also a medical office space tenant of The Curtis. (The building remains true to its publishing roots serving as headquarters to Philadelphia Magazine).
Terry Jacobs, AIA, Co-founder of Philadelphia-based Jacobs Wypner Architects (www.jacobswypner.com), said after a recent visit with Scheer’s team, “We have extensive experience over decades working with very particular bio and pharma clients, and the spacious, 80,000 square foot Curtis floors we looked at checked their boxes when looking for readily adaptable cGMP-compliant space.” Specifically, these features include:
- Dual electrical feeds and back-up generators (planned).
- Four fresh-air intakes per floor and shaft spaces for exhaust.
- 15’0″ ceiling heights.
- 200 lb. floor loads.
- Two freight elevators (4,500/5,5,500 lbs. capacity)
- Central chilled water and steam.
He added, “It is rare within or outside the city you find a building like this – historic or modern – where you can start construction almost immediately. Of course, the natural sunlight from the exterior and through the 12-story atrium, and its location within America’s most historic mile, are just wonderful added benefits of this grand structure.”
“The Curtis is as relevant today as it was when it opened its doors as the Curtis Publishing Company headquarters in 1910. We are pleased to own and operate this vital and historic building and welcome our exciting new relationship with Scheer Partners,” said Bill Glazer, Founder-CEO of Keystone Property Group.
About Scheer Partners
Scheer Partners, Inc. is a nationally recognized, highly diversified firm, whose focus includes state-of-the-art research, development and property management, serving the comprehensive “scientific real estate needs” of the rapidly evolving life sciences industry. Founded and headquartered in Maryland, Scheer also has offices in Philadelphia and Boston. www.scheerpartners.com
Keystone is a vertically integrated commercial real estate development and investment company focused on the creation of office and mixed-use developments that transform buildings and neighborhoods into one-of-a-kind places that foster culture, creativity and personal connection. Headquartered in Conshohocken, Pa., its portfolio of successful projects spans well-located urban and suburban locations including Greater Philadelphia; Miami, Fla.; and New Jersey, and has attracted numerous world-leading companies as tenants. The company, which also manages a set of real estate investment funds, has been recognized by Inc. 500 magazine, the Entrepreneurs’ Forum and the Wharton Small Business Center, and its projects have earned awards from a variety of industry and media organizations. For more information, please visit www.keystonepropertygroup.com