The Assembly honors the site’s history as an innovation hub and will house University of Pittsburgh researchers who are fueling the city’s rise as a leading destination for life sciences discoveries
Wexford Science & Technology, LLC, and the University of Pittsburgh are marking the official opening of The Assembly, formerly the Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant,in a ribbon-cutting event and cocktail reception on May 5, 2022. The iconic building, which was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2018, was originally a one-stop shop for assembling and showcasing the automobile manufacturer’s iconic Model T. This landmark of Pittsburgh’s legacy of manufacturing innovation will now serve as an epicenter of innovation in life sciences for Pitt researchers, entrepreneurs, and established companies.
“The partnership and shared vision of Wexford and the University of Pittsburgh has resulted in an iconic, collaborative environment that will create a new level of connected research and discovery that can move scientific breakthroughs from the laboratory to the marketplace,” said James Berens, founder and chairman of Wexford Science & Technology. “Much like Ford’s vision for an interdisciplinary facility in which to build cars, The Assembly similarly merges the talents of the University, growth companies, startups, the city and its citizens into an environment that is unique in character and integrated into the fabric of the community and functions as a center of the regional innovation ecosystem.”
The Assembly is poised to serve as an innovation hub for Pitt researchers, who will be working to create knowledge and advance health care discoveries. The University is leasing approximately 245,000 square feet of The Assembly, leaving approximately 110,000 square feet in the new construction available for lease by other tenants.
Pitt researchers who will anchor the building include leading scientists in the fields of cancer research and immunology. The Assembly will house a number of Pitt investigators from the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Department of Immunology and Institute for Precision Medicine. The University will have use of the state-of-the-art 250+ seat auditorium on the facility’s ground floor.
“To our many partners who helped us reach today: Thank you,” said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “The Assembly is more than a facility. It is a confluence of Pittsburgh’s storied past, relentless evolution, and astonishingly bright future. And I am excited to watch this space fill with world-renowned talent from the University of Pittsburgh who will make quick work of pushing medicine’s frontiers forward for society’s gain.”
Wexford and its partners —Ventas Inc., Bank of America, ZGF Architects and Turner Construction —were able to preserve key architectural and historic features of the building, such as the spectacular Crane Shed. In addition to housing cutting-edge laboratory, R&D and office space, the finished facility will offer tenants a 324-car parking facility with secured bicycle room and shower facilities,gathering and event spaces,conferencing facilities,and a restaurant and cafe.
“We are excited to see this new facility come to life as a space for bold, innovative biomedical research, education and training. It represents another milestone in the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC’s commitment to advance new treatments and cures while contributing significantly to the region’s expanding biotech sector,” saidDr. Anantha Shekhar, senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Pitt’s School of Medicine.
Built for Innovation
Built in 1915 by Ford Motor Company and designed by famed architect John Graham, the building sits on the corner of Baum Boulevard and Morewood Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield and Shadyside neighborhoods.
The former plant featured an eight-story structure that contained assembly areas and a vehicle showroom. An adjacent, six-story crane shed enabled Ford to unload parts from the nearby Pennsylvania Railroad tracks and deliver them to the building’s appropriate floor for assembly.
The site’s evolution—and transformation into The Assembly—is designed to advance the city’s growing role as an innovation hub in university research; entrepreneurial activity; corporate engagement;and inclusive, multidisciplinary programming.
The Opening Ceremony and Celebration will take place on Thursday, May 5, at 4 p.m. in the former crane shed. The event will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony immediately followed by a cocktail reception.