Fairmount Park Commission Approves Fox Chase Cancer Center Expansion Plan

FPC Approval Allows Fox Chase to Build Much-Needed Patient Care and Research

Facilities, Creates 4,000 New City Jobs, and Directs Thousands of Dollars for

Burholme Park Maintenance and Improvements

Mar 09, 2005, 00:00 ET from Fox Chase Cancer Center

    PHILADELPHIA, March 9 /PRNewswire/ -- In a move that reaffirms
 Philadelphia's position as a world leader in cancer research and treatment,
 the Fairmount Park Commission today approved Fox Chase Cancer Center's plan to
 expand at its Northeast Philadelphia campus by utilizing 19.4 acres in
 neighboring Burholme Park.  The plan will create approximately 4,000 new city
 jobs through a series of phased expansions over 20 years.
     The Fairmount Park Commission will lease the 19.4 acres to Fox Chase for
 80 years and give the cancer center the option to renew the lease for two
 additional multi-year periods.  In return, Fox Chase will pay the Commission
 $2.25 million over three years, plus a percentage of construction costs as new
 buildings are developed in the phased construction plan.  The Commission
 expects to utilize 50 to 75 percent of the money from this agreement for
 maintenance and improvements in Burholme Park.
     "We are grateful to the Fairmount Park Commission for its support of the
 plan to position Fox Chase as one of the premier cancer centers in the world,"
 said Fox Chase president Robert C. Young, M.D.  "Its decision represents the
 culmination of many hours of meetings and discussions involving all of the
 stakeholders in this project - including our neighbors, local businesses, city
 officials, and a great many other interested citizens.  The Commission took
 the time to hear all sides, and it used this information to help craft a
 better plan that will benefit the Center and the community."
     A component of the agreement calls for replacing the acreage utilized by
 Fox Chase in Burholme Park.  The Fairmount Park Commission is working to
 identify an appropriate parcel or parcels of land for replacement.
     Fox Chase Cancer Center's expansion plan is expected to be completed in
 about 20 years and will add as many as 4,000 permanent new jobs and $40
 million in local tax revenues to a city which is working to expand its
 workforce.  Fox Chase's expansion will include a new state-of-the-art
 hospital, an outpatient treatment center, and cutting-edge research
     The Center's board of directors is expected to consider the Commission's
 decision at its next meeting March 29, which will allow them to address the
 "hold" placed on two patient care facilities to be constructed on the current
 Fox Chase campus.  The $70 million construction projects were halted last fall
 until negotiations with the Fairmount Park Commission were completed.  As part
 of this phase of expansion, Fox Chase will also construct a parking garage on
 the newly acquired land.
     The approved plan represents a compromise that significantly reduced the
 Burholme Park acreage sought for the project -- from 25 acres to 19.4 acres.
 Young explained the revisions: "Our plan reflects several thoughtful
 suggestions made by those impacted by our growth.  For example, it was
 suggested that we build a parking facility underground to preserve more
 parkland and we plan to do that.  It was suggested that we construct higher
 buildings to preserve parkland, and we can do that while respecting other
 neighbors who want our buildings significantly hidden by the canopy of trees.
 It also was suggested that we shift our entire footprint to the west to avoid
 using land where the playground currently exists, and we have been able to do
 that as well."
     In February, the Fairmount Park Commission appointed a subcommittee to vet
 the revised plan and negotiate the final terms.  The Fox Chase expansion plan
 leaves intact the Burholme Park playground, ballparks, sledding hill and
 Ryerss Museum.  Its primary focus instead is on land currently being used for
 business purposes (the golf driving range and batting cages), although the
 plan allows for this business to continue operating until such time as the
 land is actually needed for construction.
     "Nearly the same amount of parkland actively used now will be available to
 the public after our expansion," Dr. Young explained.  The revised plan makes
 more use of the passive area in the park.  When combined with the amount of
 acreage currently fenced off and used for commercial purpose, the total of
 actively usable and available land will be within two acres of the actively
 used land now.  "We are especially pleased that this agreement allow us to
 make a significant direct financial investment in Burholme Park."
     "This plan will allow Fox Chase to create the research and treatment
 facilities that will be necessary to treat the more than 10,000 patients who
 will need our help in the next decade," Dr. Young said.  "Cancer is primarily
 a disease of the aging, and as our population grows older, demand for
 treatment will continue to rise dramatically.  The demand for cancer care will
 explode in the next decade. We need to grow to handle this demand, and this
 plan allows us to do so."
     Fox Chase was founded more than 100 years ago with the opening of the
 nation's first cancer hospital in West Philadelphia.  It moved to its current
 location in 1968.  The 100-bed hospital remains one of the few facilities in
 the country devoted entirely to cancer care.  Today, Fox Chase sees more than
 6,500 new patients a year-a number that is expected to double by 2015.
     Fox Chase Cancer Center was founded in 1904 in Philadelphia, Pa. as the
 nation's first cancer hospital.  In 1974, Fox Chase became one of the first
 institutions designated as a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer
 Center.   Fox Chase conducts basic, clinical, population and translational
 research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and
 community outreach.  For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit
 the Center's web site at http://www.fccc.edu or call 1-888-FOX CHASE.
     CONTACT:  Karen Carter Mallet of Fox Chase Cancer Center,
 +1-215-728-2700, karen.mallet@fccc.edu.

SOURCE Fox Chase Cancer Center