After Decades of Dormancy, Philadelphia’s Powerhouse Budd Plant Presses Ahead as a New Biomanufacturing Center
PHILADELPHIA, PA July 23, 2021 – A new future is forming around an iconic symbol of Philadelphia’s manufacturing past. The Plymouth Group, in partnership with Centerbridge Partners, L.P., is officially underway on an ambitious biomanufacturing redevelopment plan that puts the life changing therapies developed in Philadelphia’s “Cellicon Valley” on the production line. Spaces will be ready for tenant construction as soon as Q4 of 2021, positioning Philadelphia to meet the swelling demand for cGMP manufacturing nationwide.
The new development will be known as the Budd Campus with the 450,000 square foot Budd Bioworks representing Phase 1 of the project, a life sciences anchor to a 2.4 million square foot adaptive reuse plan that encompasses 6 buildings on over 25 acres in the middle of a major metropolitan area.
Budd Bioworks will comprise 300,000 square feet of cGMP drug manufacturing space along with 150,000 square feet of lab and office space. Residences, restaurants, retail and art activations are planned for subsequent phases within the greater Budd Campus.
Sitting directly between Philadelphia’s Center City and its suburbs, the former Budd Company Hunting Park Plant holds a significant place in Philadelphia's manufacturing past and the world over, producing numerous pioneering innovations in the application of stamped and stainless steel that would revolutionize auto and rail car manufacturing and redefine standards for manufacturing processes to this day.
L to R: The current state of future biomanufacturing space readying for occupancy, the historic Budd Plant and a prior deteriorated state. Photo credit: Robert Masciantonio/Hagley Digital Archives, Colliers
Changing the way the world moved at every stage, the Budd Company attained the status of a multi-billion-dollar global powerhouse right from its Hunting Park location. At its height the company grew to over 20,000 employees but as imports gained in popularity plant operations ultimately came to a halt and has been sitting - vacant, abandoned and neglected.
“Pioneer” a name reflecting the pioneering products of Budd’s past, seen today and with a soon-to-be revitalized exterior, as viewed from Fox Street. Photo Credit: Colliers / Wulff Architects
The Plymouth Group, a real estate investment firm based in New York specializing in large-scale adaptive reuse projects, purchased the site in 2019 and have been steadfastly preparing the site for its reemergence, with spaces coming to market in the immediate future.
“There are so few things that capture the spirit of transformative change for a City more than a transition from making metal car parts one stamping machine at a time to building a state-of-the-art cell and gene manufacturing facility embedded directly in the community.” relates Michael Davis, founding partner of Plymouth Group, who is responsible for the redevelopment. “This won’t be known anymore as the ‘former’ Budd assembly plant - it will
be the world’s leading biomanufacturing facility.”
“Budd was the industrial heart of a community and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with our community groups and local elected leaders to make sure that all feel their handprint in this dynamic redevelopment.” Davis continues.
“This was once an economic hub to thousands of workers making living wage jobs. Left uncared for the Budd sites are a risk for catastrophe, sending a negative symbol to our community” relates Councilman Curtis Jones Jr., whose district the Budd occupies. “I think the Budd biotech comeback is going to be one of the best comeback stories in urban America, transforming these properties into thriving, job-producing opportunities.”
Underscored by the mobilization to a vaccine for COVID-19, the need for biomanufacturing is growing nationwide, with the immediate availability of ready space and strong labor pools defining the search.
“Being able to deliver such a critical block of space, that is ready for tenant construction in a few short months, is crucial for Philadelphia to compete nationally with the surging demand for biomanufacturing space. The unique ability of Budd to expand through subsequent phases will provide opportunities for biomanufacturing tenants to grow along with them.” shared Joseph Fetterman, leader of the Colliers Life Sciences practice group in the Philadelphia market who heads up the project leasing team.
The physical and locational features of the Budd Campus have enduring fundamentals that are attractive to drug manufacturing: expansive ceiling heights, loading, efficient regional connectivity, a strong pipeline of both PhD level and biomanufacturing tech talent and access to cargo and parcel shipping centers. “When you add it all up with the one-of-a-kind nature of this historic redevelopment - you soon see something very special is taking shape at Budd.” concludes Fetterman.
“To launch such a substantial project in a way that maintains the creativity of our development vision and hits every checkbox life science tenants require, and customization they demand, is a full collaborative effort. We are pleased to share we have assembled a first-class team that includes a strong capital partnership with Centerbridge Partners, L.P. and leverages the specialists at CRB Engineering and Colliers Life Sciences” summarizes Davis.
“In short, we couldn’t be more excited to bring this project online in Philadelphia, to be a part of the momentum that is propelling this dynamic bio cluster. Budd’s unique proximity to revolutionary academic research and a quickly evolving biopharmaceutical culture we think is unmatched and full of wonderful potential for transformative change - in both health outcomes and the community” concludes Davis.
Stay with the progress at Budd, sign up for development updates at: www.BuddBio.com
About Plymouth Group
Plymouth is a full service, real estate investment and development firm with a current portfolio of over 5 MSF and a track record of over 50 completed projects including ground up development and adaptive reuse of industrial, retail and residential asset classes throughout the New York Tri-State Area, Pennsylvania and Northern California. Plymouth has developed into one of the fastest growing real estate firms in New York City, noted for an entrepreneurial culture that discovers opportunity and tackles complex problems to accomplish strong returns on its investments. For more information, please visit www.plymouthgroup.com.
About Centerbridge Partners
Centerbridge Partners, L.P. is a private investment management firm employing a flexible approach across investment disciplines — private equity, private credit and real estate — in an effort to develop the most attractive opportunities for our investors. The Firm was founded in 2005 and as of July 1, 2021 has approximately $31 billion in capital under management with offices in New York and London. Centerbridge is dedicated to partnering with world-class management teams across targeted industry sectors and geographies. For more information, please visit www.centerbridge.com.
About Colliers International
Colliers International (NASDAQ, TSX: CIGI) is a leading diversified professional services and investment management company. With operations in 67 countries, our more than 15,000 enterprising professionals work collaboratively to provide expert advice to real estate occupiers, owners and investors. For more than 25 years, our experienced leadership with significant insider ownership has delivered compound annual investment returns of almost 20% for shareholders. With annualized revenues of $3.0 billion ($3.3 billion including affiliates), with $40 billion of assets under management, we maximize the potential of property and accelerate the success of our clients and people. Learn more about how we accelerate success at corporate.colliers.com, Twitter @Colliers or LinkedIn.