The University of Pennsylvania Health System is moving forward with the construction of a new hospital tower that would cost, according to sources, an estimated $1.5 billion and be built in phases over several years.
The health system has talked about doing such a momentous project for years but only now has taken the first step in making it come to fruition.
A letter was sent earlier this month to prospective construction companies, architectural and other firms based in Philadelphia asking them to indicate whether they would be interested in undertaking such a big, complicated development.
How many firms were contacted couldn’t be determined but it’s speculated roughly a dozen or more companies that have done health-care projects before were notified. It is also rumored that these firms are forming teams to compete for the job.
Each team that is interested must respond to by Aug. 18. Penn will then whittle down that list to six. Those finalists will be then be invited to respond to a request for proposals.
Penn expects to name the winning team by year end.
The project would consist of constructing a new complex on the site of the existing Penn Tower, which would be torn down. Penn Tower was originally built in 1975 as the Hilton Hotel of Philadelphia. It was later acquired by Penn, and now houses a variety of offices and clinics for the Penn Health System.
The proposed tower would consist of 700 patient beds, 50 operating rooms, a relocated emergency room, and other medical-related programs. The existing Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), which is connected to the tower by a covered walkway, has 772 beds.
The project, which would nearly double HUP's bed count, would be a major milestone for the health system — and with it carry some hefty significance. “Our goal is to be recognized nationally as the most accomplished and respected school of medicine and health system,” Penn wrote in the letter it sent out.