Two rivers and an iconic avenue border South Philadelphia, this historic region that encompasses multiple neighborhoods. Flanked by the Delaware River to the east, the Schuylkill River to the west, and South Street at its northern tip, it’s a sprawling testimony to the resilient nature of Philadelphia’s character and business sense.
The district is famous for welcoming massive influxes of immigrants who arrived in the mid- to late-19th century, seeking dock work and factory jobs during the Industrial Revolution boom. Today, it continues to be a melting pot in itself – South Philadelphia boasts growing populations that include Vietnamese, Chinese, and Indonesian immigrants, alongside the more established Italian, Irish, and African American communities.
Much like its contemporary residents, South Philadelphia’s businesses are an eclectic bunch. The area consistently draws design firms, real estate companies, law offices, and healthcare branches. South Philadelphia is also home to all of Philadelphia’s major sports teams. The trifecta of the city’s major league teams – the Phillies, Eagles, and 76ers – draw thousands on the regular to the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, which includes the Wells Fargo Center, Lincoln Financial Field, Citizens Bank Park, and the Xfinity Live! Complex.
With its strong history and fluctuating sense of self, South Philadelphia is an exciting district that manages to escape labels and convention.
South Philadelphia Office Space | Lease Data & Trends
Office space in South Philadelphia runs at an average of under $30 per square foot. This rate also places it below the average for the Central Business District, which is about $32. Class A rates in South Philadelphia are more on par with general Center City asking rents.
Rental rates have shown a steady, nearly 9% year-over-year increase per square foot. This reflects the relatively limited total inventory – which is only 13 million square feet, compared to the 40 million available in the greater Central Business District.
Navy Yard Office Space
The Navy Yard is a recent redevelopment and mixed-use project for retail and office space in South Philly. The area is expected to see continued investment and attract businesses of all sizes. Currently, Navy Yard office space costs $46 per square foot on average.
What Our Brokers Say About South Philadelphia Office Space
The funk factor and history of acceptance for which South Philly is known draws independent businesses, ranging from a storefront dedicated entirely to refurbishing typewriters to several of the city’s top-ranking law firms. Such variety renders the area desirable for forward-thinking companies seeking space and flexibility to grow. Notable tenants include the CSX Railyard, and the Sunoco Oil Corporation, whose headquarters are on Passyunk.
The district is also markedly friendly to women-led ventures; in the mile-long East Passyunk Street stretch between Federal to Broad Streets, at least 55 businesses are owned by females. This 35 percent total renders the area nearly double that of the citywide average, which is just over 18 percent.
Part of the draw here is undeniably the proximity to South Street. On the street and in the surrounding vicinity, there’s something for every flavor: For upscale business lunches, the doors of Dante & Luigi’s have been swinging open since 1899 to serve classic Italian; this old-world charm is a stark contrast from the vibrant, Veracruz-inspired flair delivered by the mouthful at Las Bugambilias.
Not to be eclipsed by its perpendicular neighbor, East Passyunk Avenue has opened a slew of noteworthy establishments. Since receiving a nod several years back from Food & Wine Magazine as one of the “Top 10 Foodie Streets in America,” the street has only harvested more dining draws. Our team recommends Stateside and Noord.
Plus, South Philadelphia is, arguably, the culinary mecca of cheesesteak – and nowhere is this truer than in the region’s own Geno’s Steaks and Pat’s King of Steaks.
Whatever dining you’re after, SEPTA makes the entire district widely accessible. Commuters have the option of accessing South Philadelphia via the Broad Street Line, plus several bus routes with quick popovers to Center City and its surrounding suburbs. Bikers have their pick of lanes, including Snyder Avenue, Columbus Boulevard, 11th Street, and 22nd Street.
The I-95 also runs through South Philly, providing access to the airport, I-76, the sports complex, and the Walt Whitman Bridge. Where the I-76 becomes the Schuylkill Expressway, commuters can easily access University City, Center City, 30th Street Station, and several western suburban areas. Commuters who choose to drive to South Philly will find parking to be easier than other neighborhoods in Philadelphia.
Get to Know South Philadelphia
The roughly ten miles that compose South Philly hold a lot of history. Once synonymous with Philadelphia’s Italian population – there’s a reason Rocky filmed bits here – the neighborhood is now home to a number of diverse populations. Consider its long-standing tourist destination, the Italian Market: Butchers and shops who’ve been in the area for over 100 years vend alongside authentic fare from the neighborhood’s relatively new Mexican populations.
The buildings in South Philadelphia reflect the region’s history as well. The Gloria Dei Episcopal church, on South Swanson, had its first service in 1700, rendering it the oldest church in the entire state. The Old Swedes’ congregation itself is even older, predating the formation of Philadelphia by five years. Then there’s St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, which, upon its 1852 founding, became the first Italian national parish in the United States.
Further west is the Graduate Hospital neighborhood. Named for an institution that’s no longer in service, the kid-friendly nook has found new life as a hub for the handmade arts scene – emblematic of the region’s ability to reinvent itself. And speaking of art, the city’s famous Magic Gardens trickle over onto South Street. (The Gardens’ creator, Isaiah Zagar, is an outspoken fan of all things South Philly.)
There’s no shortage of verdant space in South Philadelphia: The nearly 350 acres of sprawling FDR Park draw residents seeking post-work recreation like golf, tennis, and strolls along the scenic Meadow Lake.