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In partnership with Longfellow Real Estate Partners, Center East will anchor and grow New York City’s life science ecosystem  

New center will be integral to the City’s pandemic response infrastructure

New York, NY - New York Blood Center (NYBC), one of the nation’s largest independent blood centers and a premier non-profit institution which supports life science startups through groundbreaking research, today announces plans for Center East. The applied life sciences hub will replace NYBC’s existing facility with a state-of-the-art center that will serve as the heart of the City’s life science innovation ecosystem and will continue to be a key part of the City’s pandemic response infrastructure. NYBC has selected mission-driven life science developer Longfellow Real Estate Partners (Longfellow) as its strategic development partner.

A rendering of what the redeveloped New York Blood Center would look like. PHOTO: DBOX/ENNEAD ARCHITECTS

“Life science innovation has never been more important as we are grappling with a global pandemic that is requiring us to research in real time, and simultaneously develop vaccines, therapeutics and much needed tests,” said Christopher D. Hillyer, President of New York Blood Center. “COVID-19 underscores the importance of investing in Center East, and developing a true life sciences hub that will allow us to advance research for treatments that will improve the health outcomes for people living with a range of serious conditions.”

NYBC plays a critical role in the City’s, region’s and nation’s health, supplying life-saving blood products and services to nearly every hospital across the five boroughs. It serves a key function within the global health care ecosystem, delivering stem cell products to over 45 countries worldwide. Center East will not only provide space for NYBC to significantly expand its life-saving research, but its presence as an anchor tenant within the new building will be a key advantage for the growth and development of promising life science startups, which fuel the ecosystem, as it provides the research for new companies to commercialize.

"New York City is facing unparalleled challenges in the wake of COVID-19,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Center East is a proposed solution that will make us both more resilient in the face of future pandemics and provide an economic engine that will be essential to our City’s success moving forward.”

The Blood Center holds a unique place in the medical and research ecosystem of the Upper East Side as a provider of critical blood products to multiple research institutions and is itself a leader in life science research. It is home to numerous advances in research and development in the field of blood-related diseases including collection and research of convalescent plasma therapy to treat COVID-19, development of prototypic vaccines against SARS, MERS and HIV viruses and regenerative medicine research aimed at developing personalized tissue cells, organoids and transfusion-grade red blood cells and platelets from human stem cells.

NYBC’s commercial and academic collaborations with life science companies and other research institutions are essential to bring its discoveries to patients as new vaccines, products, drugs and treatments. However, NYBC cannot expand its life-saving research and development due to the physical limitations of its current facility, which was originally built in 1930 as a Trade School. Replacement of the existing facility is essential to expand NYBC’s ongoing research and development, ability to recruit talent and to fully utilize the potential of this unique site within the Upper East Side corridor of world-class medical and academic institutions. 

The vision for the proposed purpose-built, 596,000 gross-square-foot Center East campus is to modernize NYBC from the ground up and maximize the building’s impact by creating space for an ecosystem with institutions and startups all working together under one roof -- a campus model that fosters dynamic interactions and the advancement of life science research to patient-ready solutions. The 16-story Center East building will include shared and dedicated spaces to serve all the building’s tenants, including startups, industry groups, partner institutions and venture capital firms. Access and cross-collaboration between groups fosters unique partnerships that will lead to the advancement of the life sciences sector. Unlike anywhere else in the City, Center East will provide shared facilities that foster dynamic interactions and collaborations among a campus of diverse tenants.

“We believe deeply in the mission of New York Blood Center and that Center East can serve as the catalyst to generating a thriving life science ecosystem in New York City,” said Jamison Peschel, Managing Partner at Longfellow. “By partnering with NYBC, we will help New York City establish itself as a major center for the advancement of cell and gene therapies around the world, such as Boston/Cambridge and San Francisco. This is an incredible opportunity for NYBC and for New York to leverage the research capacity of world-class institutions and drive the commercialization of advances that will save lives.”

Ennead Architects was selected for the project for their experience in designing vertical laboratories within dense urban environments that are civically responsible and sympathetic to the surrounding context. Ennead has produced a thoughtfully designed building that will provide NYBC with a modern, purpose-built and amenity-rich home that emphasizes efficiency, flexibility, transparency, and collaboration. NYBC will be the primary occupant of floors 1-5. The NYBC program includes a ground floor Blood Donation Center, state-of-the art Research Laboratories, and associated executive and support functions. The building’s upper stories, floors 7-16, will be reserved for Longfellow partner organizations. Center East occupants will have access to collaboration spaces, shared specialty lab environments, a café, and conference facilities with a ground floor multi-purpose room.  This emphasis on shared spaces will promote collaboration between NYBC, partner organizations and the life science industry in NYC.

Peter Schubert, Design Partner at Ennead Architects said, “The mission of the New York Blood Center has never been more important. We are proud to design Center East, a new home for NYBC that supports their critical work in the service of public health, can operate at the highest levels of efficiency for today’s state-of-the-art research, and is nimble enough to easily respond to future needs as they arise. The building is designed to facilitate communication between co-located researchers and fuel the collaborations that catalyze research discoveries, as it increases community awareness and engagement with NYBC via opened up street frontage, ground floor transparency, and a more pedestrian friendly streetscape.”

In addition to being the catalyst for life sciences innovation, Center East will provide a viable opportunity for the City’s greater economy. By creating a world-class biotech and life sciences campus, Longfellow and NYBC will create an estimated 2,600 jobs on site, an estimated 3,000 indirect jobs in the neighborhood, and a total new economic output of $1.1 billion annually. In addition, as part of the Center East vision,  NYBC and Longfellow will create and execute a landmark workforce development program, targeted at supporting youth and collegiate STEM talent via education, internship and mentoring programs, strategic partnerships with outside educational organizations, and on-site training and certifications.

“Now more than ever, the life science industry is critical to both the physical and economic health of New York,” said Carlo A. Scissura, President and CEO of the New York Building Congress. “Center East will not only provide construction jobs in the short term, but has the potential to facilitate the creation of new, long-term jobs from every sector of the life science ecosystem. This project represents an opportunity for New York City at a time when we desperately need new economic engines and job creation.”

"NYBC has always been a tremendous community partner and the work that they do is absolutely vital here in our community and around the world," said Elizabeth Dew, President of Friends of St Catherine’s Park. "Center East would provide NYBC with the facilities they need, to not only advance their existing research, but to create a real ecosystem with much broader benefits."

About New York Blood Center

Founded in 1964, New York Blood Center (NYBC) is a nonprofit organization that is one of the largest independent, community-based blood centers in the world. NYBC, along with its operating divisions Community Blood Center of Kansas City, Missouri (CBC), Innovative Blood Resources (IBR), Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD), and Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC), collect approximately 4,000 units of blood products each day and serve local communities of more than 75 million people in the Tri-State area (NY, NJ, CT), Mid Atlantic area (PA, DE, MD, VA), Missouri and Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Southern New England. NYBC and its operating divisions also provide a wide array of transfusion-related medical services to over 500 hospitals nationally, including Comprehensive Cell Solutions, the National Center for Blood Group Genomics, the National Cord Blood Program, and the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute, which — among other milestones — developed a practical screening method for hepatitis B as well as a safe, effective and affordable vaccine, and a patented solvent detergent plasma process innovating blood-purification technology worldwide.

About Longfellow Real Estate Partners

Longfellow Real Estate Partners serves the unique demands of science and technology companies and focuses on the most innovative cluster locations in the US. The firm acquires and develops facilities in strategic locations and builds long-term relationships with research centric organizations including life science companies, universities, medical centers and research institutes. The principals of Longfellow have acquired or developed more than 8 million square feet of laboratory and technology space over their careers including numerous high profile projects on the East Coast. The Company’s institutional capabilities and entrepreneurial vision enables Longfellow to deliver high quality laboratories and innovation space while satisfying each tenant’s unique requirements. For more information about Longfellow, please email info@lfrep.com

About Ennead Architects
Ennead Architects is an internationally-acclaimed studio with offices in New York City and Shanghai. Renowned for its innovative educational, cultural, scientific, commercial and civic building designs that authentically express the progressive missions of their institutions and enhance the vitality of the public realm, Ennead is a leader in the design world. The recipient of the prestigious Smithsonian Institution-Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, the AIA NY Medal of Honor, and the National AIA Firm Award, as well as numerous design awards for individual buildings, Ennead has a body of work that is diverse in typology, scale and location, but rooted in a deeply-held conviction that the most compelling architectural expressions echo our society and culture and enhance the life of our cities. Ennead’s urban laboratory buildings include: the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute Laboratory at Hudson Research Center; NYU Langone Health Science Building; Weill Greenberg Center and Belfer Research Building at Weill Cornell Medicine; and the newly opened The David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. www.ennead.com