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NEW YORK CITY-Despite a daily dish of sour news that paint the picture of a city in economic contraction, a group of developers say excavation had begun and marketing is underway, for a new 60-floor, glass and steel tower that will rise over-looking the Jacob Javitts Center. The 1.5-million-square-foot complex–scheduled to be complete by 2013–will bring an international multi-purpose trade center for medical professionals and vendors to Manhattan’s far west side.

Called, ‘World Product Centre’, the 977-foot tower, being built at 555 W. 33rd St., is a joint effort between the Greater New York Hospital Association and Extell Development Corp. Plans say it will serve an array of commercial and educational needs for healthcare suppliers and providers within that $336-billion dollar industry.

“You’re going to have 600 different companies dedicated to healthcare who now have a physical presence in New York City,” Lee Perlman, president of GNYHA Ventures, tells GlobeSt.com.

The new ‘side-corp’ building on the site of the former CopaCabana nightclub will be minimum LEED-certified and in addition to serving as a trade mart, will contain two floors dedicated as a consumer health pavilion, where educational companies or organizations can interact with the public.

Interestingly, spokespeople say what has healthcare industry players most excited is that the complex will offer an environment that encourages transparency for that industry’s business transactions–a craft that has come under increasing scrutiny over the past few years, resulting in congressional hearings and stiff penalties. The project, originally set to be built at the World Trade Center site downtown, has been in planning stages for years.

According to WPC spokesperson Michael Resnick, the idea’s genesis was the result of the personal experiences of Israel Green, WPC visionary and president. Resnick says that around ten years ago, Green’s wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer. “He was told she had six months to live,” says Resnick.

Green used his resources to travel the world and seek help for his wife’s condition. But, at some point, just days before what Resnick called a serious operation, the surgeon revealed surprising news to Green. “The surgeon came in and told him that his wife in fact, did not have cancer,” says Resnick.

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

That experience led Green to further develop his idea. Using his resources, he sought to create an environment or facility where doctors and manufacturers of medical devices and other technologies might come together to facilitate commerce, transfer knowledge and share education.

Then, Green discovered that the Greater New York Hospital Association had also been working on a very similar idea for some sort of medical merchandise mart. “We then wanted to form a single project,” says Lee Perlman, president of the GNYHA of his pooling of ideas with Green.

Perlman describes the massive building as “a complex Disneyland and World’s Fair for healthcare innovation and education” where “no two days are ever the same, an international destination for the medical community.”

Perlman says, while the complex will serve as a trade mart for medical service companies from around the world to showcase new products, “it will also be a place to demonstrate new services, a center where innovations are announced and, being that this is New York, a place where financial markets can intersect with some of the largest companies they serve.”

“We have so many companies in health care that are publicly traded 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 New York where they can come and be connected to the financial services industry.”

World Product Centre’s Resnick agrees saying that “we want to create 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.

Still, the health of New York City’s economy does not bode well for any project seeking to reach into the skies of Manhattan these days. This is not discouraging Perlman or Resnick as they intend to continue seeking to fill their building–with John Strong, former CEO of Consorta, Inc., leading those efforts.

“It’s fascinating to me that so much of the media attention about our project is being placed on the financing aspect,” says Resnick. Meanwhile, Perlman stresses the uniqueness of the project, noting that the healthcare industry is a growth sector.

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 and they are all going to pay rent,” said Perlman.

“It is a growth sector, and it will continue to grow,” says Perlman. “We want it to grow in New York City.”

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