PHILADELPHIA-The University of Pennsylvania plans to build a biomedical research facility on the former Philadelphia Civic Center 19-acre site for $370 million. A university spokesman tells it is designed to rise out of the top of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine and also integrate with the Roberts Proton Therapy Center.

“It will be one of the very first interdisciplinary research and clinical care complexes,” he says. “There will be one main lobby connecting all three buildings, and the objective is to bring clinicians and researchers together in shared space.” He explains that the biomedical structure will be 10 stories tall with an aggregate of approximately 500,000 sf. New York City-based Rafael Vinoly is the architect.

The facility is expected to reach completion in summer 2010. “Groundbreaking is somewhat uncertain,” the spokesman says, because it depends on progress of the $302-million Perelman Center, which is now under construction and scheduled to open in 2008. The adjacent $144-million Proton Therapy Center, also under way, is expected to open in 2009, as previously reported.

Penn and Children’s Hospital jointly acquired the former civic center site from the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. for an undisclosed price. It is located on Civic Center Boulevard, across from the University of Pennsylvania Health System’s main campus.

Funding will come from a combination of donors and university funds. In a statement, Arthur Rubenstein, dean of the university’s school of medicine and EVP of its health system, called it a “new highpoint in our tradition of collaborative medical inquiry.”

“By design, the new building will bring together the rich and complex biomedical disciplines required to achieve progress in the conquest of disease,” says Amy Guttman, Penn’s president, in a statement. It will “accelerate Penn Medicine’s innovative research enterprise.”

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