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In 1984, Executive Vice-Presidents Dr. Robert H. Moser and other
ACP leaders decided that the College would benefit a great deal
from moving into a new headquarters. The building at 4200 Pine
Street, which had served as the College's headquarters for nearly
fifty years, was no longer suited as the center of operations for
the nation's largest specialty medical society. Leadership began to
explore the financial feasibility of building and sustaining a new
headquarters. After a period of exploration, College leadership
concluded that the College could afford to build a new headquarters
and the search for a new site commenced.
A site selection committee was formed and several options were
examined, including the possibility of relocating the College to
Baltimore or Washington D.C. Among the many considerations
contributing to the decision to remain in Philadelphia was the
desire to retain the College's local staff of about 200, whose
roots were in the Philadelphia region. Philadelphia had also served
as the College's home for 60 years and there that a move to
Washington, D.C. might be misconstrued as a departure from ACP's
educational mission in favor of health policy activities.
In April 1986 the site selection committee, under the leadership
of the President-elect, Dr. Ceylon S. Lewis, eventually recommended
the purchase of a building site on the west side of Philadelphia's
celebrated Independence Mall. The site area was between Sixth and
Seventh Streets bordering on Race Street and was the location of
the former Bicentennial Exhibit which was constructed in the early
1970s by the city for the nation's Bicentennial. The College began
negotiations with the city's Philadelphia Redevelopment
Corporation, and various officials in Mayor Wilson Goode's
administration. The city was only able to sell the College the area
on Sixth Street bordering on Race Street, since WHYY-TV had a
long-term lease on a section of the Seventh Street side. Ultimately
a compromise was reached as the College agreed to accept about
three quarters of the initial location.
The Independence Mall site was ultimately approved and, although
the College maintained a satellite office in Washington for
purposes of congressional liaison, all other activities would
remain under one roof in Philadelphia. Construction on the new
building began in 1987 and was completed for occupancy by 1989. By
the late 1990s, WHYY-TV had moved to a new location next door to
the College. After further renovation on their new building gave
them additional space, WHYY-TV no longer needed to retain their
lease with the city for the location on Seventh Street.
Consequently the College was able to acquire the remaining section
from the City of Philadelphia in 2000. Construction begun within
months of the purchase of the west wing, which was fully occupied
as of April of 2002.
-Prepared November 2013 by Eric Greenberg, based on
materials from the Archives of the American College of Physicians
and Moser, Robert H. A Decade of Decision: A Physician Remembers
the American College of Physicians, 1977-1986. Philadelphia, PA:
American College of Physicians, 1991.