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Biology and Bioengineering aren't the only departments at Penn that will soon receive an addition of laboratory space.

The School of Medicine will also get additional laboratory space when the new Translational Research Laboratory opens in October 2004.

"It's a basic science research building that will be constructed for the School of Medicine," said Paul Sehnert, director of development management at Penn.

In addition, "there is a portion of the space reserved for non-Penn tenants, who will be able to facilitate their research needs through access to Penn facilities," said Sehnert.

"We've spent a lot of time designing a building that is incredibly functional for its use," said Sehnert. "It's not a flashy building; it's pretty straightforward."

The $65 million project involves refurbishing a warehouse on 31st Street behind the new WXPN building and across Highline Park from the Left Bank building.

The building's location -- just a few blocks from 30th Street Station and the Schuylkill Expressway -- is seen to be an asset for the type of corporate tenants that Penn is attracting.

"From a real estate perspective, we have found that it is a really good location," said Sehnert.

The project began in October of last year, and the first occupants of the building are scheduled to move in during the fall semester. The remaining planned tenants will be moved in six to nine months after that.

The 125,000 square foot building is part of Penn's expansion to the east, according to Sehnert.

"This is a very deliberate implementation of the [University's] master plan," he said. "This is one of the developments that will really start initiating the development of the post office lands."

"This district which, five years ago would be viewed as not really part of the University of Penn, can now be seen as part of this eastward momentum," he added.

A translational research facility is "a term for the space where academic research and certain aspects of commercial research are translated," said Sehnert.

Translation involves taking academic findings and giving them a clinical application. Increasingly frequently, commercial entities are collaborating with academic institutions to get this type of work done.

"Commercialization of research is not something that is happening only at Penn," said Sehnert. "We hope that this building can begin to fulfill that need."

"Approximately 20,000 square feet [is being] held for commercial, non-Penn tenants who will be doing wet-lab research," he added.

The commercial lab space is being rented out for Penn by Scientific Properties, which is headquartered in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Scientific Properties was founded and is led by Andrew Rothschild, who received a Medical degree from Penn.

"He's basically working for us to help scientists and researchers access the site, understand the building and at a very prosaic level rent the space," said Sehnert.

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