University City’s famed Wistar Institute has just broken ground on a large expansion of its facility. The Wistar Institute is a large medical research facility on Spruce Street, where the street intersects at the walkway where 36th Street would be, on the University of Pennsylvania campus. The institute, named after prominent Philadelphia physician Caspar Wistar, was founded in 1892 and has developed numerous vaccines and cancer treatments over its illustrious history. Even though it is located on the Penn campus, it is not affiliated with the university or its hospital across the street. It does, however, add to the large concentration of medical research centers in what is often called the University City Medical Complex that also includes Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Veterans Administration Hospital. These medical institutions are next to Penn’s biology and veterinary schools along University Avenue/38th Street.
The Wistar Institute built a landmark building in 1894, designed by architects George W. and William G. Hewitt, which is still at 36th & Spruce. Later additions were added over time and rebuilt, with the latest in the 1970s, when the institute added a cancer center after being designated an official National Cancer Institute Cancer Center. The cancer center, on the western end of the complex at 37th Street, will be renovated, but the section adjacent to the original 1894 building will be rebuilt with a seven-storey facility. The new facility will have additional laboratory space, bringing the total number of laboratories to 40, and open floor plans to encourage collaboration among researchers. It is believed that encouraging this collaboration through these open floor plans, where the researchers are likely to see each other during their work, will encourage team building and team solutions to curing illnesses. This attempt to encourage collaboration through open floor plans is a very popular idea in developing research and office space today. Locally, it is also being used in Drexel’s Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building and at the new Glaxo-Smithkline headquarters building under construction at the Navy Yard.
The expanded center will, also, allow the institute to expand their staff of researchers. Expanded research could likely lead to the creation of new technology and new companies producing that technology in University City or down at the new high-tech Naval Business Center. It, also, might attract more venture capital companies to the city, especially at Cira Center, next to 30th Street Station, which has the four largest venture capital companies in the Delaware Valley. If you are one of those new employees looking for a home, or investment property, in the city, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign on to my facebook realtor page, Gabriel G. Philly Realtor. You can, also, check out our Condo Shop listings at our Condo Shop website at www.thecondoshops.com, and our facebook page, The Condo Shop and our new Rittenhouse newsletter, Rittenhousenews.