Green Developments and Urban Gardens Boom in Philadelphia

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor During a tree planting event that was held last week at Philadelphia’s Navy Yard Corporate Center, GlaxoSmithKline and Liberty Property Trust/Synterra Partners inaugurated a new 205,000-sq.-ft., environmentally friendly building. As reported by Citybizlist.com, Deirdre Connelly, president of [...]

During a tree planting event that was held last week at Philadelphia’s Navy Yard Corporate Center, GlaxoSmithKline and Liberty Property Trust/Synterra Partners inaugurated a new 205,000-sq.-ft., environmentally friendly building.

As reported by Citybizlist.com, Deirdre Connelly, president of North America Pharmaceuticals at Glaxosmithkline, Bill Hankowsky, CEO of Liberty Property Trust, and Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter planted three trees at the site of the new facility that represent the participants’ commitment to sustainability. Also on stage were John Gattuso, regional director of Liberty Property Trust, Bill Wilson, CEO of Synterra Partners, Peter Longstreth, president of Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, and Dan Phelan, senior advisor of GlaxoSmithKline’s CEO.

The development at Five Crescent Drive is an $82 million investment by Liberty Property Trust. According to plans, the building will include shared workstations and team tables, meeting and social areas, quiet rooms and various other amenities such as a restaurant, a fitness center, shops and free parking lots for employees and visitors alike. The construction is scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter 2012 or first quarter 2013, when Glaxosmithkline plans to relocate all employees currently based at the One and Three Franklin Plaza buildings in Center City Philadelphia.

In other “green” news around the city, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports that a 33,746-square-foot parcel owned by Brandywine Realty Trust at 1919 Market St. in Philadelphia’s business district is being redeveloped into an urban garden. The site was formerly owned by Opus East, which had purchased the property in 2005 in order to raise a condominium development. Given the collapse of the residential market, the company was then forced to change plans and redevelop the project into a scaled-down apartment project. In July 2009 Opus East filed for Chapter 7 and the site was bought by Bank of America, which had the mortgage on the property. After Bank of America filed for Chapter 7 as well, the property was bought by Brandywine.

The garden will be divided into production areas for herbs, vegetables and flowers such as sunflowers, cleome and cosmos, a stand for blue spruce and topiaries, a meadow of red clover, grasses, grains and corn. The produce grown at this urban garden will reportedly be used to create restaurant cuisine with the help of local chefs including Daniel Stern, Guillermo Tellez, Chris Scarduzio, Michael Schulson, Marcie Turney and Lynn Rinaldi of paradise.