Why Center City

When it comes to being a great place to do business and attract talent, Philly works!

When it comes to being a great place to do business and attract talent, Philly works.

Center City offers 40 million square feet of high-performance office and coworking space, a well-educated, creative workforce and a vibrant tech and life sciences scene. Step into a thriving, walkable and mixed-use downtown, rich with restaurants, outdoor trails, parks and sidewalk cafes. Adjacent University City, a robust center of innovation, is home to top universities, medical and research institutions and another 4.7 million square feet of space.

Work-Life Balance

Strategically positioned on the Amtrak corridor between New York and Washington, Center City offers outstanding indoor and outdoor amenities: healthy buildings, world-renowned museums, galleries, performing arts and historical attractions. Just a 10- to 15-minute walk or bike ride from best-in-class office space are a dozen diverse and affordable downtown neighborhoods with new apartments, historic townhouses, luxury condos, gyms, parks, quality schools and hundreds of restaurants with award-winning local chefs. Subways, trolleys and buses expand neighborhood choices, while rail lines reach out to leafy green neighborhoods, both within the city and around it, most just a 30-minute trip from downtown. Both the Jersey shore and the Pocono mountains are as close as an hour’s drive.

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Center City and University City are only 15 minutes from Philadelphia International Airport and within two-hours flying time from half of the U.S. population. With direct flights to more than 100 domestic and international destinations, downtown Philadelphia is ideal for companies seeking to connect to customers and business partners along the East Coast or in Western Europe.  

Center City is at the heart of an extensive multimodal transportation system with direct access to an 11-county region, enabling more than 3 million workers from Philadelphia neighborhoods and surrounding Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware suburbs to commute downtown via two Interstates and on 14 regional rail lines. More than 1 million regional workers live within one mile of a rail station with stops in both Center City and University City, giving employers easy access to a 360-degree labor market.

Business Hub

​Center City is home to 42% of Philadelphia jobs: 309,471 wage and salaried workers; 9,500 freelancers or those compensated as partners; 40 million square feet of high-performance, healthy office buildings and 500,000 square feet of coworking space. A state-of-the-art, one-million square foot Pennsylvania Convention Center is supported by more than 12,000 downtown hotel rooms. Another 11% of Philadelphia’s jobs are right next door in University City, home to major universities, hospitals and in life-sciences and tech startups.

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Innovation Hub

Center City is at the heart of one of the world’s most dynamic hubs for talent, research and innovation. Locating in Center City is a smart move. Each year, 90,000 students graduate from the region’s 101 colleges and universities -- including 15 institutions of higher learning in or near Center City. That means companies have access to a continuous cohort of young, educated recruits, as well as a wide array of continuing education opportunities for employees. 

In 2020, Philadelphia ranked fourth nationally in in NIH grants, attracting $1.1 billion for cutting-edge medical research. Combined research spending at Drexel, Temple, Thomas Jefferson and the University of Pennsylvania totaled $2 billion in 2018, which together with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia applied for 391 patents.

Center City is the ideal place to expand and elevate your workplace strategy. The downtown’s density and accessibility allow people from large businesses, research institutions, startups and the public sector to intersect on a daily basis, creating a vibrant innovation ecosystem. Capital, accelerators, coworking spaces, universities, more than 300 startups, and an educated workforce have created a diverse entrepreneurial community that led the National Venture Capital Association to rank Philadelphia among the top 10 metropolitan regions for venture capital, with an average of nearly $600 million in annual funding.  


Affordable Choice

Center City companies benefit from all the advantages of doing business in a dense, accessible downtown at a fraction of the cost of other peer cities. Businesses in Center City benefit from the advantages of a dense, accessible, urban employment node, but at a fraction of the cost of other peer Northeastern cities. Downtown Philadelphia businesses have access to a highly skilled and educated workforce, as well as lower labor and occupancy costs, while employees of Center City companies benefit from having an exceptional quality of life at a much lower cost of living. A Center City homeowner earning $92,100 (the average wage of an office worker in Philadelphia) would need to earn 25% more in Boston, 26% more in Washington and 92% more in Manhattan to enjoy the same standard of living. 

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Large and Diverse Talent Pool

Center City has the region's highest concentration of talented workers, who want to work, live and play in a vibrant urban setting. Center City has the second largest downtown residential population in the country, behind only Manhattan. Sixty percent of downtown residents have a bachelor's degree or higher, rising to 78% in the central core. Center City has a highly educated and skilled population working in management consulting, financial, legal, real estate, engineering, medical, creative and technology firms.

The downtown’s live-work vibrancy makes it a magnet for young workers seeking an affordable, urban lifestyle. Since 2006, Philadelphia’s share of millennials has increased the fastest among the 10 largest U.S. cities. Forty percent of Center City’s population is between the ages of 20 and 34.

24-Hour Downtown

Center City’s nationally acclaimed retail and dining scenes, cultural institutions and award-winning parks are attracting residents and workers seeking a vibrant 24-hour downtown. Center City is a thriving, 24-hour downtown with vibrant urban living, an extraordinary range of housing choices in historic neighborhoods, and an expansive array of cultural, entertainment, dining and recreation options that appeal to residents and workers. Construction cranes, visible everywhere, are transforming the skyline. Almost $9 billion in major downtown developments have been recently completed or are currently in the pipeline.  

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From the Schuylkill Banks and Boardwalk, to Dilworth Park, Sister Cities Park, Franklin Square, Spruce Street Harbor Park and the Delaware River bike trail, Center City has innovative new spaces complement celebrated settings like Rittenhouse Square and Independence National Historical Park. Most recently, pop-up beer gardens and parklets have evolved to serve the ever-increasing numbers of pedestrians throughout the downtown.  

Center City’s nationally acclaimed restaurant scene attracts people from across the region and beyond, while national retailers and local boutiques live side-by-side on Center City’s stroll-able blocks, creating a shopping experience like no other.

Center City is only behind Midtown Manhattan and Washington, D.C., in the number of downtown arts and cultural organizations per downtown resident, surpassing Chicago, San Francisco and Boston. The city’s rich historic fabric was recognized in 2015, when UNESCO named Philadelphia the first World Heritage City in the United States.  

Among Philadelphia’s other recent accolades:

  • The World's Greatest Places of 2021: 100 extraordinary destinations to explore - Time magazine
  • The Best Destinations in the World: The 2021 Gold List - Condé Nast Traveler
  • ​​Top U.S. City To Visit In 2020 - National Geographic
  • America's Next Great Food City - Travel + Leisure (2020)