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Conceptual Rendering of 2nd Floor Coworking Space.

Credit: Courtesy of HWKN/Penn News

Penn’s Board of Trustees just approved the design development for the new Pennovation Center, a building meant to foster entrepreneurship, innovation and research at Pennovation Works.

The Pennovation Center is a three-story facility located in the heart of Pennovation Works, a 23-acre site adjacent to the main campus and the Schuylkill River. The Pennovation Works project has been lauded by local businesses as an excellent chance to foster innovation in Philadelphia.

“The Pennovation Center design creates a truly iconic landmark for Penn’s innovation ecosystem and a dynamic hub for Penn’s culture of innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration,” Penn President Amy Gutmann said in a press release. “The Center is designed to bring the University’s eminent researchers and scientists along with our extraordinary students, together with the private sector to foster creative exploration, entrepreneurship and new alliances and to generate economic development for the region.”

The Pennovation Center will contain space for entrepreneurs and startups from both inside and outside Penn. Each floor will be outfitted with wet and dry labs as well as meeting and social rooms. Outside the Center will be the Pennovation Plaza, which is designed to be an outdoor hub for collaboration, lab work and even robot testing.

“This Pennovation Center represents a collaborative effort and significant, highly visible leap forward in the larger vision of Pennovation Works,” Vice President for Facilities and Real Estate Services Anne Papageorge said in the press release. “The entire site — its architecture, landscape, signage and programming — will reflect the innovative, collaborative ventures taking place within.”

The Pennovation Center is only a part of the first phase of development for Pennovation Works, with landscaping, infrastructural and branding work occurring alongside the Center’s construction. This first phase represents a $37.5 million investment made by Penn to support Pennovation Works.

The Pennovation Center is expected to be completed in summer 2016, shortly after the Penn Engineering lab opening planned for late fall 2015.

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