Central PA Medical Research Capabilities Expand as Construction of Hershey Center for Applied Research Begins
Center a "catalyst for research, development and business" says Gov. Rendell
HERSHEY, Pa. (April 19, 2006) – The central Pennsylvania medical research community will soon be able to stop looking for real estate in Baltimore, Delaware and Washington D.C. and start considering the benefits of setting up shop in Hershey, Pa.
In a ceremony Wednesday, members of the Pennsylvania health care and economic development community broke ground on the first building of the future Hershey Center for Applied Research. The event was highlighted by a speech by Dennis Yablonsky, secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Community and Economic Development. During the ceremony, Secretary Yablonsky presented a check for $5 million to David Black, president of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC. The check represents the $2.5 million Business in our Sites (BOS) loan and $2.5 million BOS grant awarded to the project last month.
"The Hershey Center for Applied Research is poised to be a tremendous catalyst for research, development and business," said Governor Rendell in a statement released today. "This one-of-a-kind facility will showcase the area's research capacity and encourage additional bioscience investors to take a look at the exciting medical research that is happening in Central Pennsylvania."
Located adjacent to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, the Research Center will be an 80,000 square-foot facility capable of providing state-of-the-art medical research resources to emerging and established businesses. The Medical Center and College of Medicine have already agreed to lease over 32,000 of the building's 80,000 square feet for the expansion of the College's pharmacology and technology development departments.
The first building will be completed in Spring 2007. The facility will include a host of resources, including wet and dry labs, conference rooms, and shared amenities through the Medical Center and College of Medicine.
"The availability of hard-to-find resources like wet labs is a key factor in encouraging the development and growth of biotechnology start-ups," said Jay Moskowitz, Vice Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at Penn State College of Medicine. "Without these tools, many researchers cannot do the sort of groundbreaking medical work they're capable of or they're forced out of the region to find these resources elsewhere."
The Capital Region Economic Development Corporation (CREDC), on behalf of Hershey Center for Applied Research, recently received a $2.5 million Business in Our Sites (BOS) grant and a $2.5 million BOS loan to facilitate the project. Though current plans focus only on the development and success of the first building, the Research Center could someday include several buildings capable of attracting medical research companies from outside the region and creating countless high-paying jobs.
A farmhouse that stands on the edge of the site is being restored and will serve as the marketing headquarters for the Research Center. Estimated to have been built in the mid- 1850s, the house was last used as a residence for students of the Milton Hershey School. The Research Center is a project of Maryland-based development firm, Wexford Science & Technology. Supporting organizations include the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC, Hershey Trust Company as Trustee for Milton Hershey School, and the Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central Pennsylvania, an organization that was formed to provide start-up money and business support services to early-stage life sciences companies. The land on which the Research Center will be built is designated as a Keystone Innovation Zone and is owned by Hershey Trust Company as Trustee for the Milton Hershey School.