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The construction of the Domus apartment complex, located at the intersection of 34th and Chestnut streets, is nearing completion.

After over two years of construction on Penn's Domus project, it's time for the finishing touches.

Domus - the University's luxury-housing project near the intersection of 34th and Chestnut streets - remains ahead of schedule, and rooms will be available for rent in June.

Originally scheduled to finish in December 2007, the complex will officially open its doors in April; however, initially, it will only operate for marketing and leasing functions, with a sample unit on display.

Domus will include 295 apartments - mostly one- and two-bedroom units - targeted to families, graduate students and Penn faculty and staff.

The project, along with the construction of a 14-story apartment complex on the 3900 block of Walnut Street, is part of a larger plan of the University to increase the amount of housing closer to campus.

"The concept is to help facilitate residents to the core of campus, relieving pressure further west," said Paul Sehnert, Penn's director of real-estate development.

Penn purchased the site from the City Redevelopment Authority in 1999. Because the Domus land was part of a city-redevelopment project, 1 percent of the funding had to be designated to a public art project, giving the campus another piece of artwork to go along with the Button in front of Van Pelt Library and "Plateau" on 40th Street.

Dennis Oppenheim, an internationally known sculptor, has designed the artwork, which will stand on the corner of 34th and Chestnut streets and will include "structural elements, lighting, pavement and other components," said Susan Davis, director of the public art program at the Redevelopment Authority.

"It's more than just all of the open space with a big courtyard," she said. "It becomes integrated with the building . [and] becomes part of the greater whole. [Due to the] scale and stature of the artist, . its a very big project."

Davis hopes the multimillion-dollar project will only serve to benefit the area.

"It's going to provide a great space for people to enjoy and think about and the public art project will enliven the corner," she said. "It's not just a plot of landscape - it's an art project."

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