Wistar’s $100 Million Biomedical Research Tower Opens in University City
- Oct 03, 2014
By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor
Last month the Wistar Institute, an independent biomedical research center, hosted a grand opening gala to celebrate its new research laboratory in the heart of Philadelphia’s University City district.
The Robert and Penny Fox Tower, which was named in honor of two of the institute’s most loyal and generous donors, is located at 3601 Spruce Street and was built on a 1.7-acre site owned by the institute. Construction at the seven-story building started in September 2011 under plans by Ballinger Architects of Philadelphia. Designed to unite the entire Wistar campus, the $100 million facility is connected to the institute’s original building completed in 1894 (the East Building) and the recently renovated 1975 Cancer Research Building (the West Building).
At 89,700 square feet, the Robert and Penny Fox Tower offers five floors of new laboratory space, increasing Wistar Institute’s total number of labs from 30 to 40, as well as a 200-seat auditorium and open public spaces. According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, Wistar currently employs around 180 doctorate-level researchers and scientists working on cancer research, vaccine development and genetics.
With the new biomedical research facility Wistar Institute plans to adopt a “team science” approach that will spark scientific innovation and optimal results. “No longer is a laboratory simply a room where individual researchers toil at their benches,” said Russel E. Kaufman, M.D., Wistar president and CEO. “Science today requires space and infrastructure to foster open communication, to provide opportunities for researchers from widely different sets of knowledge and expertise to collaborate in order to tackle the scientific challenges of tomorrow,” he added.
L.F. Driscoll Company, LLC, of Bala Cynwyd served as construction manager for the expansion and renovation of 3601 Spruce Street. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the project was funded with $18 million in grants from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, $55 million from Citizens Bank, and $25 million from a $35 million fund raising campaign led by Robert and Penny Fox.
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Images via Ballinger Architects and Wistar Institute