CUNY and Sloan-Kettering Build Cancer Center and Nursing School on UES

By Jill Colvin on September 10, 2012 3:42pm | Updated on September 10, 2012 7:49pm

UPPER EAST SIDE — The City University of New York and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center are teaming up to build a new, state-of-the-art cancer center and nursing school on the Upper East Side, officials announced Monday.

The plan will transform an old city sanitation garage along the FDR Drive at 525 E. 73rd St. into a gleaming 750,000 square-foot cancer treatment facility, which will focus on lung, head, neck and blood cancers, including groundbreaking out-patient bone marrow transplants.

As part of the deal, CUNY’s Hunter College will build a new, 336,000 square-foot Science and Health Professions center at the same site, which will bring the school's nursing and general departments under the same roof.

“This is, in short, a hugely significant agreement,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a press conference announcing the deal, after months of speculation about the future of the site.

“These new facilities will enhance New York’s already first-ranked standing in the areas of medical research, treatment and learning," he said, "and they’ll enable both Hunter College and Memorial Sloan-Kettering to carry out their life-saving missions in state-of-the-art facilities in a beautiful location overlooking the East River."

The hospital purchased the building from the city for a whopping $215 million, which Bloomberg called “one of the largest real estate transactions city government has ever been involved in,"

The new building will be in walking distance of the main Memorial Sloan-Kettering campus as well as Hunter's main campus at East 68th Street and Lexington Avenue.

Today, CUNY health sciences and nursing schools are housed away from the main campus, in CUNY’s Brookdale campus East 25th Street and First Avenue — forcing students to waste time commuting back-and-forth, school officials said.

As part of the deal, the old Brookdale campus will be taken over by the city, which intends to use the space to build a new garage facility for the Department of Sanitation's trucks, street sweepers and snow plows, as well as potential new residential development and public space.

The agreement marks the city's latest efforts to boost its tech and medical sectors and is the latest high-profile project slated for the Upper East Side, which has seen a recent flurry of hospital expansions.

The neighborhood is also near the home of Cornell's new Roosevelt Island engineering campus, which won a $100 million city competition to build a new applied sciences campus on free city land.

School and hospital officials said the latest effort will help deliver better care to New Yorkers, while helping to develop the next generation of research scientists.

“This new facility will help us better serve cancer patients and more rapidly bring new clinical insights into personalized therapies for each of our patients,” said Memorial Sloan-Kettering President and CEO Dr. Craig Thompson.

“It’s the epitome of bench-to-bedside science,” Hunter College President Jennifer Raab said.

The project, which still must go through the city’s land use process, is expected to be completed in 2017 or 2018.

The East 73rd St. facility was demolished in 2008 with the intention of erecting a new garage. But when budget constraints delayed that project indefinitely, the city began brainstorming new ways to capitalize on the site, which was once home to an incinerator.

The Upper East Side’s sanitation equipment is now stored in Inwood’s garage at 301 W. 215th Street, while is garage serving the Murray Hill/Gramercy area is currently on West 30th Street.

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