Revealed: East Harlem’s Proton Center

Proton CenterProton Center, rendering by VOA, via the EDC.

A proton beam therapy center is likely coming to East Harlem, at 201-225 East 126th Street and Third Avenue, and YIMBY’s got the project’s first look.

The Economic Development Corporation is in advanced talks, someone at the city agency wrote, to bring the “Proton Center” to East Harlem as part of its larger Media, Entertainment and Cultural Center complex. The three-story, $300 million development would be built in partnership with four local hospitals, and the technology requires a large, rectangular space for the equipment. The state’s Power Authority has also granted the center the use of below-market electricity.

The design of such medical centers is specialized enough that only a few architects in the U.S. can create such spaces, and VOA – the firm responsible for this one – seems to have taken home the lion’s share of similar contracts (so many that they have a dedicated “Healthcare + Proton Beam Therapy” page on their portfolio section).

Per the group behind the Proton Center, Proton Therapy, “is an emerging form of radiation therapy that can maximize radiation doses to the target tumor, while sparing adjacent healthy tissue”; according to the Post‘s Lois Weiss, the patients would mostly be children, whose healthy organs would be spared while the cancerous tumors are attacked.

A new building permit for the 115,000-square foot Proton Center was filed late last week, but YIMBY was advised that the filing is not indicative of an imminent groundbreaking, and the application was submitted in advance of promulgation of the new building code (something we’ve been seeing a lot lately, as architects rush to file plans that will be judged under the old code).

Eminent domain proceedings started earlier this year for the broader Media, Entertainment and Cultural Center complex, which will span a six-acre area from Second to Third Avenues and 125th to 127th Streets.

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