When the School District of Philadelphia had an interested buyer for one of the 22 schools it needed to close in 2013, it presented an opportunity for innovation, collaboration, economic growth, and community revitalization. Ballard Spahr provided a comprehensive approach to the sophisticated structuring of the project and the broad range of legal competencies required to close the deal.

The Drexel University City Development, a partnership between Drexel University and Wexford Science + Technology, a BioMed Realty company, will transform the 14-acre parcel and the West Philadelphia neighborhood where it sits. This 2.7-million-square-foot mixed-use project is a unique combination of research and lab facilities, office space for technology companies, high-rise and low-rise residential, national and independent retail space, recreational areas, and a new K-8 public school.

With the influx of technology companies to the area, the project’s residential units—from townhouse-style apartments to a multifamily high-rise—should be readily occupied, drawing residents to the area and contributing to the long-term prospects of University City’s growing science corridor. The project is expected to generate 4,300 new construction jobs and 5,600 permanent jobs.

“Given the track record of University City in growing jobs in science and technology, the Drexel/Wexford development will bolster the economic vitality of the area,” said Ballard Spahr Real Estate Department Chair Bart I. Mellits, who led the firm’s team in this transaction. “It will make an extraordinary mark, both in generating economic development and in promoting the urban experience in Philadelphia neighborhoods.”