A new “Southern seafood fusion” restaurant and nightlife spot is slated to fill the ground floor anchor retail space in a $100 million life sciences development in University City.
Entrepreneur Felicia Wilson and partner and chef Darryl Harmon have inked a deal to open Amina Ocean in University Place 3.0, a 250,000-square-foot, eight-story building at 4101 Market St. Wilson and Harmon also own Amina Restaurant & Lounge at 104 Chestnut St. in Old City. That restaurant, named after Wilson’s daughter, opened in May 2022.
Amina Ocean is expected to begin construction in February and open late next fall.
“We didn’t want to go for the traditional blues that you kind of think of when you think of seafood restaurants. … We wanted to do something definitely different, definitely that the city doesn’t have,” Wilson said.
She wants the restaurant to be a place where the surrounding community can gather throughout the day. As such, Amina Ocean will be open for lunch, dinner and nightlife. It is expected to create at least 80 jobs.
The restaurant will sit in a section of the city chock full of development, a factor that initially attracted Wilson to the area. She expects Amina Ocean to be a “catalyst” for more people and businesses to flock to the area.
“That area is not known for any restaurants that will be of our magnitude of scale,” Wilson said.
Amina Ocean joins Lancaster-based Fulton Bank as a retail tenant at University Place 3.0. The bank opened a 2,250-square-foot branch in the center of the street-level retail corridor in early August.
In addition to its ground-floor retail space, University Place 3.0 has 30,000 square feet each on floors two through eight designed for 60% lab space and 40% office space. New York firms Silverstein Properties and Cantor Fitzgerald partnered with local commercial real estate development firm University Place Associates on the project. Silverstein and Cantor invested $56 million into the building and own 90% of it.
University Place 3.0 is part of University Place Associates’ Platinum Corridor, a multi-phase life sciences campus running from 39th to 42nd streets along Market Street.
University Place Associates founder and CEO Scott Mazo said the group is excited to have Amina Ocean as its anchor retail tenant in University Place 3.0.
“An upscale restaurant in this location is exactly what the community told us they wanted, and we are thrilled to make this happen,” Mazo said in a statement.
University Place Associates still has several retail tenants it wants to add and Mazo said he expects to announce those in the coming weeks.
Amina Ocean isn’t the only move Wilson is making. Prior to the new restaurant opening, Wilson plans to debut a fast-casual chicken concept called BlackHen at 120 Chestnut St. in Old City. Expected to open early next year, BlackHen will serve “all things chicken,” including fried chicken, smoked chicken, chicken and waffles, buffalo chicken dip and vegan and vegetarian options, Wilson said.
BlackHen will span approximately 1,100 square feet and seat about 42 people. It will be open every day except Monday beginning at 11 a.m. and remain open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Wilson and Harmon also have two other projects in the works but Wilson declined to share details at this time.
Written By Emma Dooling – Reporter Philadelphia Business Journal
Contact Nadia Bilynsky at (267) 546-1718 for additional information on this listing