In Development: SkyREM Announces Plans to Convert Historic Philadelphia Quartermaster into Life Sciences Campus

Alexander Dembitzer
4 min readFeb 21, 2023

I am thrilled to share that SkyREM has recently signed a deal to convert Philadelphia’s historic Quartermaster site into the new Quartermaster Science + Technology Park. This monumental undertaking is a $250 million commercial redevelopment project that will accomplish two simultaneous goals; to preserve the rich legacy and history of a Philadelphia landmark while transforming it to meet the pressing need for additional life science space in the greater Philadelphia area — one of the largest bioscience clusters in the U.S.

Scheer Partners, a full-service commercial real estate firm, is leading science and technology leasing while commercial real estate brokerage firm, MPN Realty, is the retail broker for the campus. We are also working closely with FIFTEEN, an architecture firm that specializes in life science requirements for research and bio-manufacturing.

The redevelopment project will be spearheaded by Vered Nohi, Regional Executive Director, New Business Development, who joined the SkyREM team at the beginning of 2023. Vered is an experienced executive in international business development and community building.

The Quartermaster Campus of Today

The Quartermaster Science + Technology Park campus includes 24 acres with six acres of green space and plenty of on-site parking. There are currently six buildings that occupy a total of one million square feet of space, including wet and dry labs for science companies’ R&D.

The floor plans are open-design to suit the needs of many different types of potential tenants. Building features are industrial-like, such as large windows, exposed ceilings, and concrete floors. We are currently working on completing gas and water upgrades to all buildings.

As we often do with many of our properties, we’re working together with our sister company SKY Power to construct rooftop solar panels to ensure the Park’s electricity will be solar and renewable.

In the first quarter of this year, we have plans to open a supermarket, restaurants, and a boutique hotel. The campus currently hosts the Indego bicycle transit headquarters, as well as several other tenants. We plan on adding multiple public green rooftop spaces with renewable energy sources for social events and networking.

The location of the Quartermaster Campus is accessible to a diverse and talented workforce both in-state and out-of-state. It’s located right off I-76, with easy access to I-95. There is also immediate access to public transportation via SEPTA bus routes.

The Historic Quartermaster

The Quartermaster traditionally served as storage and work facilities during war. In the early 1800s, the army constructed a warehouse to store military arms, gunpowder, equipment, and more. It was called the Schuylkill Arsenal, which is where Captain Meriwether Lewis, of the famed Lewis and Clark expedition, got his supplies for his journey.

During the Civil War, more than 10,000 seamstresses and tailors were brought to the site to make clothing, bedding, and other necessary provisions for Union troops. When the U.S. entered World War I in 1917, the army leased another 61 acres of what was then a celery farm. Workers there created uniforms for the modern military that was now going out to war. The enlarged facility was renamed the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot, which is the modern site of the Quartermaster Science + Technology Park.

Rendering of the new Quartermaster site

During peacetime, workers produced coats, tents, various uniforms, and clothing items. During the Great Depression, Philadelphia’s textile industry was more extensive than that of any other U.S. city. In the 1930s, the Quartermaster played a key role in rehabilitating the nation’s economy after the Depression.

War came once again and the Quartermaster produced millions of wartime uniforms. The facility expanded and even had its own railroad system. Between ensuing periods of peace and war, the site alternated between producing military uniforms and supplies and staples like bedding, blankets, and clothing.

In 1994, clothing factory operations at the Quartermaster closed and were transferred to Northeast Philadelphia. In 2010, the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

SkyREM purchased the campus in 2001 and after 20+ years we are actualizing its development into something that will have a positive effect on the city, much like its previous incarnations.

The Quartermaster Science + Technology Park currently has 500,000 square feet of vacant space for life science and high technology companies.

For leasing information, you can contact Tim Conrey at tconrey@scheerpartners.com, KJ Kulik at kkulik@scheerpartners.com, or Lou Tonon at ltonon@scheerpartners.com with Scheer Partners, Inc.

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Alexander Dembitzer

Alex Dembitzer’s career as a real estate developer, investor, and philanthropist has spanned several decades: http://www.dembitzer.com/