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Cantor Fitzgerald and Silverstein to Develop Life Science Project in Philly Opportunity Zone

Silverstein Properties and Cantor Fitzgerald are partnering with University Place Associates to develop, operate and lease 3.0 University Place, a life sciences-enabled building located in Philadelphia.

Cantor Fitzgerald, a global financial services firm and real estate investment company, and Silverstein Properties, a private real estate developer, owner and property manager, are partnering with sustainable commercial development firm University Place Associates to develop, operate and lease 3.0 University Place, a life sciences-enabled building located in the Philadelphia submarket of University City.

The property is located in a qualified opportunity zone, as well as keystone opportunity zone, and is expected to break ground early in the first quarter 2021. With an expected opening in the fourth quarter of 2022, the building will be the first phase of a multi-phase project.

Passed as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, qualified opportunity zones are land tracts designated by the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service. To incentivize private investment in these communities, the legislation created tax breaks for investors who make qualified long-term investments in these areas.

Similarly, keystone opportunity zones are commercial or industrial areas located in Pennsylvania – the Keystone State – and businesses in these areas are exempt from most business taxes.

3.0 University Place will be a 250,000-square-foot, eight-story lab and office building designed by The Sheward Partnership. The property will have ground-floor retail and curated wet/dry lab space, including an incubation co-working floor operated by Ben Franklin Technology Partners, and a dedicated floor for pre-built 3,000-10,000-square-foot “growth pods” with three- to five-year leases for graduate/smaller-scale companies.

The companies said that future tenants in the building will benefit from “significant” tax incentives as well as proximity to the 40th & Market transit hub, the University of Pennsylvania, and Drexel University.

The property is pre-certified LEED Platinum v4 for building design and construction (LEED BD+C) and is targeting WELL v2 Platinum certification.

In a recent study conducted by Econsult Solutions, the project will create 410 construction jobs, and 215 operations jobs upon completion, directly related to the surrounding community. The project’s economic impact during construction will be $221 million, representing 1,270 direct and indirect jobs. The anticipated economic impact for every year in operation is $309 million, representing 1,340 jobs.

Cantor and Silverstein announced their opportunity zone joint venture partnership in March 2019. In January 2020, they closed on a site to develop the Meadows Apartments in a Las Vegas opportunity zone.

Cantor Fitzgerald is an investment bank serving more than 5,000 institutional clients around the world. Silverstein Properties is based in New York and has developed, owned and managed more than 40 million square feet of commercial, residential, retail and hotel space.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the companies sponsor the Cantor Silverstein Opportunity Zone Trust, a $500 million 506 (b) private placement offering.

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