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Weill Cornell Opens $650M Research Center on York Avenue

 The Belfer Reseach Building is 480,000 square feet.
The Belfer Reseach Building is 480,000 square feet.
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Jeff Goldberg/Esto for Ennead Architects

MANHATTAN — Weill Cornell Medical College opened an 18-story, $650 million research facility on the Upper East Side on Friday, nearly doubling the institution's research space.

The 480,000-square-foot Belfer Research Building at 69th Street and York Avenue will play host to research centers for cancer, cardiovascular disease, global health and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

"The completion of the Belfer Research Building represents a major expansion of Cornell University's footprint in New York City," David J. Skorton, president of Cornell University, said in a statement. "It opens the door to an even greater role for Weill Cornell physicians and researchers in benefitting the health and well-being of New Yorkers and many others around the globe.”

The Belfer Research Building is the centerpiece of Weill Cornell’s seven-year long “Discoveries That Make a Difference Campaign.” Since 2006, Weill Cornell has raised $1.3 billion to enhance its research programs, including a $100 million gift from Bob and Renee Belfer, for whom the center was named.

To encourage collaboration across research areas, architect Todd Schliemann created an open floor plan with glass walls and open staircases. The building was designed to maximize energy-efficiency, and Weill Cornell is seeking to have the facility LEED certified.   

Scientists at the Belfer Building will focus on translational research, an approach that aims to quickly translate research findings into better treatments and therapies for patients.

In addition to Weill Cornell labs, the Belfer Building will play host to the Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute, a collaboration between Weill-Cornell, Rockefeller University and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Researchers will work with the Takeda Pharmaceutical Company to expedite early-stage drug discoveries into treatments for patients.

CUNY Hunter College has also paid $65 million to set up a research space on the fourth floor of the building.

“In our new Belfer Research Building, internationally renowned scientists will tackle our greatest health care challenges, pinpointing the cellular origins of disease and finding targeted treatments,”  Dr. Gary Koretzky, dean of the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, said in a statement. “Weill Cornell is committed to making a difference in this world by enhancing human health, and I am excited for what we can accomplish."