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News

Fox Chase Cancer Center Presents $1 Billion Expansion Plan to Fairmount Park Commission

Proposal Calls for Utilization of Existing Commercial Property in Burholme Park
PHILADELPHIA (October 13, 2004) -- Calling the project the "next step in the battle to treat and prevent cancer," Fox Chase Cancer Center leaders today presented a 20-year, $1 billion expansion plan to the Fairmount Park Commission that calls for the building of a new hospital, a new outpatient treatment center and critically-needed new research facilities.

The expansion proposal, which will bring 4,000 permanent new jobs to Philadelphia, seeks Commission approval for the utilization of 25 acres in Burholme Park, almost 80 percent of which already is being used for commercial purposes.

"Cancer is primarily a disease of the aging, and as our population grows older, demand for treatment will continue to rise dramatically," explained Robert C. Young, M.D., president of Fox Chase. "The demand for cancer care will explode in the next decade, and this development plan is the next step in the battle to treat and prevent cancer. Fox Chase is already operating at overcapacity and we need to grow. Our goal is to grow on our current campus right here in Philadelphia."

Fox Chase was founded 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.

The plan to expand at its current location followed a two-year visioning process that examined how to accommodate the growing need for patient care with cutting-edge treatments while also continuing to conduct the best scientific research in an environment of rapidly advancing technologies.

"We considered expanding by acquiring property in various parts of the region, but splintering our patient care operations and research is not consistent with what a 'comprehensive cancer center' is," stated Dr. Young. "The interaction between scientists and physicians is key to the rapid translation of laboratory discoveries for patient care."

The Fox Chase growth plan seeks the use of 20 acres in Burholme Park, currently being leased for commercial purposes, plus an additional five acres. Fox Chase proposes moving the commercial tract of land closer to its campus after the lease with the current tenant expires. Fox Chase would redevelop the former commercial footprint for recreational park uses, and the Center also would fund the purchase of an additional 25 acres of land at a site to be chosen by the Commission, so that there is no net loss of Park land.

The Fox Chase expansion plan does not involve the ballparks, sledding hill or Ryers Museum.

"In fact, our proposal includes a plan to help the Fairmount Park Commission with the upkeep of the ball-parks, recreational areas and the museum," said Dr. Young. "We want this proposal to be a win-win-win for the community, Fox Chase, and the Fairmount Park Commission and City.

Philadelphia City Commerce Director Stephanie Naidoff indicated that the Street Administration supports the plan. "It is very important to Philadelphia and the residents not only of the city but also the region that we help Fox Chase grow at its current campus, so that it can continue to be a world leader in the fight against cancer," Naidoff said. "Of course, we must still come to agreement on the terms of this transaction, and we look forward to working with all of the parties to get there."

Fox Chase has more than 2,300 employees, a third of which live in the immediate area. The proposed expansion plan will double the size of the Center and add more than 4,000 new jobs.

"We estimate that over the next five to seven years, the city will see an additional $40 million in wage taxes," said Dr. Young.

Fox Chase receives more than $53 million a year in federal funding and grants. The awarding of the 2004 Nobel Prize in chemistry last week to a long-time Fox Chase researcher, Irwin Rose, underscores the high-quality research conducted at the institution. This is the second Nobel Prize received by Fox Chase scientists.

The presentation to the Park Commission is the first step in a process that also involves the City of Philadelphia and the communities surrounding Fox Chase Cancer Center.

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 www.fccc.edu or call 1-888-FOX CHASE.


Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

Media inquiries only, please contact Diana Quattrone at 215-728-7784.

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