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New Details Revealed on Design and Construction of University of Pittsburgh's BioForge Facility

PITTSBURGH, PA — The University of Pittsburgh, in collaboration with Massachusetts-based ElevateBio, is launching a $250 million biomanufacturing center. This initiative aims to develop advanced cell and gene therapies while rejuvenating the region’s life sciences industry. ElevateBio, the anchor tenant, will use equipment and technologies in the facility to research and manufacture cell and gene therapies.

“This partnership between two national life-science powerhouses — the University of Pittsburgh and ElevateBio — is a consequential step forward in realizing our shared vision to make Pittsburgh a national and international biomanufacturing destination,” said Sam Reiman, Director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation, which has announced a $100 million grant to the university to create the center. “Pitt BioForge is a generational opportunity to bring extraordinary economic development benefits to our region and life-changing cell and gene therapies to patients — distribution that will be accelerated and enhanced by Pitt’s partnership with UPMC.”

HOK is leading the planning and design of the 185,000-square-foot Pitt BioForge Biomanufacturing Center.

“Our design for Pitt BioForge will establish an inspiring hub for science and innovation in Pittsburgh’s historic Hazelwood neighborhood,” said HOK Regional Leader of Science + Technology David Schwartz, AIA, LEED AP. “The building will provide an optimal environment to drive biomanufacturing breakthroughs that improve human health.”

Topped by a mechanical penthouse, the two-story building will feature two pocket parks and bicycle parking. These amenities aim to enrich tenants and neighborhood residents. The sustainable design targets LEED Gold certification and will incorporate regional public art.

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“The architecture strives to physically manifest the exciting, regionally transformative program it contains,” said Gina Bleck, the University of Pittsburgh's Vice Chancellor for Planning, Design, and Construction. The Pitt BioForge facility will have an exterior that “invites visual access to the science” and an entryway designed as a “welcoming lantern. … We are confident in the building design and think it will be an appealing addition to the Hazelwood neighborhood.”

Construction is slated for late 2023, with site preparation and foundation work beginning in early 2024. By mid-2025, the construction is expected to be complete. The building will be a key part of the university’s vision for developing a life sciences ecosystem on the site.

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