Back in April of 2019, we told you that The University of Pennsylvania received a $50 million gift from Roy and Diana Vagelos to help fund the construction of a new lab building along Walnut Street which would host the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology and the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER). Then, at the end of 2020, another $20 million was donated for the project. Since then, we haven’t heard too much about the project.
It looks like things are still moving forward as more details about the plan were recently released in preparation of the development’s hearing with the Civic Design Review (CDR). The new structure is now being called The Vagelos Laboratory for Energy Science and Technology (VLEST) and will be built on the site of a surface parking lot and a small low-rise building, which will be demolished. It will rise 8 stories reaching a height of 112 feet with 113,764 square feet of interior space. A new exterior green space will be added on the west side of the building and a new pathway will connect the lab to The Palestra and Shoemaker Green.
The building sports a modern design with a very interesting massing. The facade appears to be made up of glass curtainwall, metal panels, concrete, and projecting fins. The fins are intended to aid in the building’s overall low energy design goals.
This project will activate a dead zone on Walnut Street and will bring some energy to what is now a surface parking lot. It will also enhance the entry point to The University of Pennsylvania’s campus for visitors traveling from the east. This building is a much better symbol of the innovation happening at UPenn than what is currently there and we look forward to seeing it get built.
How do you feel about this project and the design of the building?
Kyle is a commercial real estate agent at Rittenhouse Realty Advisors, a homeowner, and a real estate investor in Philadelphia. Kyle uses his extensive Philadelphia real estate market knowledge to help his clients buy and sell multifamily investment properties, development opportunities, and industrial sites.
Email Kyle@RittenhouseRealty.com if you are looking to buy or sell a property