2 min read July 2022 — In an interview with Invest:, President and CEO of workplace developer Gattuso Development Partners John Gattuso talked about some of the projects the firm has in the pipeline, along with the trends he is seeing in the Philadelphia market when it comes to industries and the future of the office space.
What do you consider to be the key highlights or milestones of the last year?
The past 24 months have been quite significant for us. We spun off from Liberty Property Trust and we completed our first project, which was a development for Iovance Biotherapeutics. That was about $125 million and a 137,000-square-foot facility located at the Navy Yard. That was developed through the pandemic and we are proud of our team for being on schedule and under budget, especially with everything going on with the supply chain. We broke ground in November on our next project, which is a cGMP facility of a similar size. There continues to be a need for suitable facilities to accommodate the manufacturing side of the life sciences, both locally and nationally.
How is your pipeline lined up for the coming year and what is influencing that?
This year, we announced our 500,000-square-foot research and development facility project located next to the heart of the Drexel University campus. That is a $420 million development that will break ground in October. We are very excited about 3201 Cuthbert because of the scale and the location but also because it allows us to build upon our relationship with Drexel. Our partnership with The Baupost Group allows us to focus on the scale of projects we are accustomed to as it provides access to significant capital resources.
We find that these projects we are undertaking are related to the emergence of life sciences and specifically cell and gene therapy. It gives Philadelphia the opportunity to assert itself within the national and even international economy and carve out a position for itself in an important industry. Over the next 12 months, I think there will be a significant number of firms coming to the city looking to access the facilities and talent which are here, this will allow Philadelphia to continue to grow but, interestingly enough, from external demand as much as internal. Access to suitable facilities is becoming a more significant factor for deciding where to place a life sciences facility so the fact we offer a high-quality talent pool, as well as well-located, first-class accommodations, that are less expensive than what can be found on the West Coast, or Boston, is a great opportunity for our region.
What trends are you seeing in the region when it comes to projects?
We must create places where people want to be. Places where you want to go, not necessarily where you have to go. These buildings, and in some cases new neighborhoods, will be designed so as to provide a high-performance environment – which is sustainable and enhances the dignity of the people who use them. The challenge we are seeing now is the need to create work environments that are compelling enough that people don’t want to sit at home. It is about creating workplaces that are no longer about control but rather enrichment interaction and purpose. We have a responsibility to create work environments which enhance productivity and ultimately help the competitiveness of our region. That goes for all kinds of projects, not just the standard office, and we as an industry must do that.
I think you will see a significant amount of construction going forward that responds to the new ways of working that are emerging. As previous methods of work become obsolete, older buildings will need to adapt or be repurposed.
In the future there will be more mixed-use buildings, with office, lab and other uses increasingly co-mingled. I also expect there to be a continued merger of residential development around places of work because people want the energy of a 24/7 environment.
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