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UrbanAmerica, L.P., a private company that invests in real estate ventures in inner city regions throughout the country, is making its entrance into the Philadelphia market. The company recently bought what is known as the Gateway Building at 3535 Market Street, where Penn currently houses several of its educational and research departments. The University owns approximately 25 to 30 percent of the building and currently uses the space for general University office and research purposes, according to Penn Facilities and Real Estate Services employee Karen Zinn. Among the departments housed in the building are the Department of Psychiatry, the Center for Cognitive Therapy, the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Department and the Alumni Relations office. But while the building may be changing hands, it shouldn't have any effect on Penn's programs, at least in the near future. "There are no immediate implications of the sale" for the University, Zinn said. The University has several 10-year leases in the building which UrbanAmerica, L.P. will honor through 2009. Penn will consider renewals at that point based on the fair-market prices of other locations, Zinn said. "You have landlords changing hands, but the tenants in the space continue on," Vice President for Facilities and Real Estate Services Omar Blaik said. "They do not change... so from our perspective, nothing really has changed." "Change of ownership is normal in real estate," Zinn agreed. When Townsend Capital LLC, based in Towson, Md., bought the 435,352 square-foot building in 1998, it was empty. The company completed a $30 million renovation project before selling it for profit, at a price of $80 million, to UrbanAmerica, L.P. on Dec. 24. "They strictly bought the property because it was a solid investment," UrbanAmerica, L.P. Public Relations representative Sionann Monroe said. The building's management will also remain unchanged for now. Research Park, Inc., a subsidiary and direct property management arm of the University City Science Center, will continue to oversee the space. The company also manages the University City Science Center building at 3401 Market Street. Penn leases space in this building as well. Penn departments housed there include the Bioethics Graduate Studies and Outreach Programs, the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, as well as Penn's Institute for Human Gene Therapy.

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