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PHILADELPHIA-The Pittsburgh real estate community is witnessing a land grab in the Shadyside-East Liberty-Bloomfield corridor as the $104-million, 335,000-sf Hillman Cancer Center and its adjacent 200,000-sf administrative building reach completion. Both buildings are expected to open in early 2003.

The center is expected to employ 800 clinicians and researchers and draw an estimated 50,000 patients a year.

A $17-million, 132-room Courtyard by Marriott is currently under construction near Hillman. It is being developed by a group of investors headed by Richard Voelker, the owner of Don Allen Chevrolet.

A one-acre lot across from Hillman was recently purchased for $925,000 by a partnership assembled by the chief executive officer of locally based-McKean Auto Group. Although the new owner is not disclosing its intentions, area brokers expect a hotel to be built there.

Brokers tell GlobeSt.com that land in the area is now selling for between $1.5 million and $2.5 million per acre, and they expect to see prices rise.

The locally based-Rudolph and Perlow families are developing Enfield Court, an office property on four nearby acres. This project begins with conversion of the vacant 67,000-sf Packard Motor Co. building into offices. The land will accommodate an additional 100,000 sf of office space.

Owned by the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Hillman is named after Henry Hillman, a local industrialist who, with wife, Elsie, donated $10 million for its construction. UPCI, a latecomer to the field of cancer specialist centers, opened in 1986 and holds the National Cancer Institute’s highest rating.

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