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The city's pricetag for selling the Civic Center to the University for use as a new hospital site could be as high as $60 million, according to one city administrator. And it remains unclear if the city would ever want to sell the center or have the authority to do so. Medical Center officials have speculated that the city might be willing to sell the center once the new Pennsylvania Convention Center is constructed in Center City in 1994. The Convention Center could take away much of the Civic Center's business. University and city officials have been unwilling to publicly speculate on what the facility might cost, fearing that any estimates they give out now might be used against them in future bargaining. But according to the city's Real Property Evaluator Ruth Skaroff, a Wharton alumnae, the city lists the market value of the property as approximately $38 million. The Civic Center contains five major buildings and occupies 15 to 18 acres. Skaroff said that although the asking price of the Civic Center would depend on the condition of the market, she would estimate that the entire parcel of land would cost between $50 and $60 million. Skaroff said she had not heard of the Medical Center's interest in the property, but said that such a purchase "would not be farfetched." "The University of Pennsylvania buys anything that's not nailed down from 33rd to 40th from Chestnut on down," she said. One other key issue is determining who actually owns the Civic Center. At a Medical School Trustees meeting, trustees said they would eventually discuss any proposal with the city. But Pennsylvania Hall, which constitutes 2.2 acres of the center, is apparently owned by the state, according to Real Property Evaluator Wilhelmina Herbert. Medical School officials have not announced whether they would want to purchase the entire Civic Center or only parts of it. Civic Center General Manager Jim McCarvill said that he believes that the city owns the entire Civic Center. McCarvill said that the final decision on the future of the Civic Center has not yet been made. "As far as I know, the plan is to have the Civic Center continue operations [after the new Convention Center is constructed]," he said. Although McCarvill said that he had not heard of the Medical Center's interest in moving HUP to the Civic Center site, he said that the move is a "logical idea" since "there's nothing else around."

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