Called, 'World Product Centre', the 977-foot tower, being builtat 555 W. 33rd St., is a joint effort between the Greater New YorkHospital Association and Extell Development Corp. Plans say it willserve an array of commercial and educational needs for healthcaresuppliers and providers within that $336-billion dollarindustry.

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"You're going to have 600 different companies dedicated tohealthcare who now have a physical presence in New York City," LeePerlman, president of GNYHA Ventures, tells GlobeSt.com.

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The new 'side-corp' building on the site of the formerCopaCabana nightclub will be minimum LEED-certified and in additionto serving as a trade mart, will contain two floors dedicated as aconsumer health pavilion, where educational companies ororganizations can interact with the public.

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Interestingly, spokespeople say what has healthcare industryplayers most excited is that the complex will offer an environmentthat encourages transparency for that industry's businesstransactions--a craft that has come under increasing scrutiny overthe past few years, resulting in congressional hearings and stiffpenalties. The project, originally set to be built at the WorldTrade Center site downtown, has been in planning stages foryears.

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According to WPC spokesperson Michael Resnick, the idea'sgenesis was the result of the personal experiences of Israel Green,WPC visionary and president. Resnick says that around ten yearsago, Green's wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer. "He was toldshe had six months to live," says Resnick.

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Green used his resources to travel the world and seek help forhis wife's condition. But, at some point, just days before whatResnick called a serious operation, the surgeon revealed surprisingnews to Green. "The surgeon came in and told him that his wife infact, did not have cancer," says Resnick.

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According to Resnick's accounts, there had been plenty ofevidence all along showing that Green's wife was cancer free. But,in the end, Green left the experience feeling that the health caresystem, from the perspectives of doctors, providers, innovationproviders and procedures was seriously disconnected.

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That experience led Green to further develop his idea. Using hisresources, he sought to create an environment or facility wheredoctors and manufacturers of medical devices and other technologiesmight come together to facilitate commerce, transfer knowledge andshare education.

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Then, Green discovered that the Greater New York HospitalAssociation had also been working on a very similar idea for somesort of medical merchandise mart. "We then wanted to form a singleproject," says Lee Perlman, president of the GNYHA of his poolingof ideas with Green.

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Perlman describes the massive building as "a complex Disneylandand World's Fair for healthcare innovation and education" where "notwo days are ever the same, an international destination for themedical community."

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Perlman says, while the complex will serve as a trade mart formedical service companies from around the world to showcase newproducts, "it will also be a place to demonstrate new services, acenter where innovations are announced and, being that this is NewYork, a place where financial markets can intersect with some ofthe largest companies they serve."

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"We have so many companies in health care that are publiclytraded but virtually none of them have offices in New York City,"he says. "One of my driving forces is that we create a place in NewYork where they can come and be connected to the financial servicesindustry."

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World Product Centre's Resnick agrees saying that "we want tocreate a center that highlights the biggest industry in the world,the industry that is most important, since when you think about it,the most important thing in the world is health," says Resnick.

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Still, the health of New York City's economy does not bode wellfor any project seeking to reach into the skies of Manhattan thesedays. This is not discouraging Perlman or Resnick as they intend tocontinue seeking to fill their building--with John Strong, formerCEO of Consorta, Inc., leading those efforts.

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"It's fascinating to me that so much of the media attentionabout our project is being placed on the financing aspect," saysResnick. Meanwhile, Perlman stresses the uniqueness of the project,noting that the healthcare industry is a growth sector.

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The group is getting customers to commit to long-term leases,then going to banks and financial service groups and saying,"listen, we have 200 great companies, they're all credit worthy andthey are all going to pay rent," said Perlman.

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"It is a growth sector, and it will continue to grow," saysPerlman. "We want it to grow in New York City."

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