There’s strength in numbers. That’s why many communities are tying their growth strategies to the development of synergistic research/tech parks and business parks.
According to the International Association of Science Parks (IASP), research parks (or science parks) are defined as organizations managed by specialized professionals, whose main aim is to increase the wealth of its community by promoting the culture of innovation and the competitiveness of its associated businesses and knowledge-based institutions.
To enable these goals to be met, a research park stimulates and manages the flow of knowledge and technology amongst universities, R&D institutions, companies and markets; it facilitates the creation and growth of innovation-based companies through incubation and spin-off processes; and provides other value-added services, together with high quality space and facilities. In addition, Research parks are defined as organizational entities that sell or lease spatially contiguous land and/or buildings to businesses or other organizations whose principal activities are basic or applied research and development of new products or processes. These definitions exclude high-tech centers or corridors like Silicon Valley in California and Route 128 in Massachusetts, industrial parks, and office parks.
After World War II, the idea of concentrating industries in one location became really popular in the other developed countries as well as in the U.S. The first research park was created in Menlo Park, CA in 1948. In the 1950s and early 1960s, the most well-known research parks were established: Stanford Industrial Park (1951) in northern California and Research Triangle Park (1959) in North Carolina. The success of these two parks and the economic booms in Northern California’s Silicon Valley, in Boston’s Route 128, and in the Austin-San Antonio corridor in the 1970s and early 1980s led many officials and politicians in regions to emulate their successes.
Particularly, research parks have grown as a result of the competition among universities. As a result, park managers and developers, in 1986, established the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) for the promotion of new research parks. Today, there are well over 200 research parks in the U.S.
Research parks have represented an attempt to encourage regional economic development through the use of regional creativity and innovation. The main reason that a region chooses this strategy is that it helps create synergies between firms and industries. In this concept, synergy can be defined as the formulation of new and valuable information through human interaction.
In recent years—and particularly when the economic downturn hit at the end of 2008—more and more locations have developed their growth strategies around research/tech parks and business parks. Across the country, like-minded businesses and research facilities are anchoring large-scale parks and serving as growth magnets. Here is a look at some of the major parks that are springing up across the economic landscape.
The University of Arizona Tech Park: Inspiring Innovation
Fifteen years ago, the University of Arizona took the bold step of purchasing an industrial park from IBM in southeast Tucson and transforming it into a university research park.
At its inception, the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park housed two companies with slightly more than 700 employees. Today, the UA Tech Park is one of the largest and most successful research parks in the US, hosting 40 companies and business organizations that employ more than 7,000 people. It occupies 1,345 acres of land and 2 million square feet of office, research and production space. Annually it contributes nearly $3 billion to the state’s economy.
The Park is designed as a location that supports technology companies in all stages of development from start-up through research and development to assembly and manufacturing. Special focus and effort is given to companies in the fields of aerospace, bioscience, optics and photonics, renewable energy and sustainable development and border security and safety.
The UA Tech Park, along with Century Park Research Center and property being developed by Diamond Ventures, constitutes the Tucson Tech Corridor, one of the largest employment centers in Southern Arizona. The Corridor is home to more than 70 businesses and 10,000 employees. The Corridor includes major employers such as Raytheon, IBM, Citigroup, Cannon USA, Target.com, Global Solar Energy, and Arizona Canning. The Corridor assists companies with a wide variety of facility and business needs including transportation and logistics, research and development, and manufacturing and assembly. Corridor companies have joined together to jointly promote and market the Corridor, improve surrounding physical infrastructure and create linkages to community and educational organizations.
The UA Tech Park contributes to Tucson’s regional economic development by advancing the University of Arizona’s research mission and its efforts in technology development and technology commercialization. In looking forward to the next fifteen years, the Park has embraced an ambitious program of expansion and business development, entitled “The Next Big Idea.” The goal is to put the UA Tech Park at the leading edge of university research parks worldwide and to develop the Park as a “community of innovation.”
Key development initiatives at the UA Tech Park include:
• Creating a live, learn, work, and play environment that attracts, nurtures and grows high technology companies and research organizations. Planned elements of the Park include residential and retail development, a 123-room executive suite, extended stay hotel with state-of-the-art conference center and a regional linear park with bike and jogging trails, exercise stations and interpretative centers.
• Developing and commercializing new technology through the incubation of University and community start-up companies. The Arizona Center for Innovation (AzCI) is a non-profit, high tech business incubator located at the UA Science and Technology Park. The incubator promotes the development of high technology companies in Southern Arizona through a disciplined program of business development. AzCI offers its clients state-of-the- art facilities including wet and dry laboratory facilities, assistance with research and product development, market analysis, and capital and investment attraction. Special emphasis is given to University faculty and student start-ups.
• Striving to be one of the best places to work in Southern Arizona. The goal is to create a work environment that helps the Park and its tenant companies attract and retain the “best and brightest” high technology workers in the world. Employee amenities include recreational center, full service cafeteria, planned exercise and fitness center, and educational offerings through UA South and Pima Community College.
• Developing a world-class solar business zone to house and promote generation, manufacturing, workforce training, research and development, and public awareness of renewable and solar energy. SolarZone@TheUATechPark brings different aspects of the solar industry together in a supportive and competitive environment to manufacture products, create technology, attract suppliers, nurture talent, and influence the solar strategy for Southern Arizona. Solar Zone companies will be internationally connected through the Global Advantage™ program which creates new markets, enhances supply chains, fosters research opportunities for technology development and commercialization, and creates business investment opportunities. Over the course of the next year, six companies will install solar facilities that will generate up to 20 MW of power. The Solar Zone will be the largest multi-technology demonstration site in the USA.
• Linking the Park to innovative education programs and offerings that create opportunities and excitement for K-12 students in science, engineering, entrepreneurship, technology and mathematics (STEM). The UA Tech Park was one of the first university parks in the United States to serve as a home to a high school. With an emphasis on the use of technology in the classroom, Vail High School has excelled and been a leader among schools in Arizona. This year the School District constructed a new 34,000 square foot LEED Platinum facility in the Park serving students from kindergarten to high school. The Vail School and the UA Tech Park have collaborated to offer students real-world business experience through part-time employment, internships and a variety of other special programs with Park companies.
• Assisting in the identification, development and commercialization of existing and new technologies that lead to safer, more secure and efficient international borders and ports-of entry. The Park is developing the Border Security Technology Commercialization Center (BSTCC), in partnership with Alion Science and Technology (Washington, D.C.) and the Bi-National Sustainability Laboratory (Santa Teresa, New Mexico). The Center will several as an objective, neutral site for the testing and evaluation of technologies that address issues related to border management, operation and security. The Tech Park is already home to several companies working the field of border technology.
The UA recently broke ground for a second research park, the Arizona Bioscience Park. The Bio Park is located on 65 acres of land in central Tucson. When fully developed, the park will accommodate more than 2.4 million square feet of developed space including offices, university and industry laboratories, a hotel and conference center and a technology high school. The park is being designed to address the most rigorous requirements of commercial biotech companies. In September, the University received a $4.7 million federal stimulus grant from the US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration to fund installation of the physical infrastructure at the Bio Park. With these improvements the park will be “development ready” in January 2011. Moving deeper into the 21st Century, the University of Arizona’s research parks will play an important role in expanding the Arizona’s high tech industries, improving the competitive position of tenant companies in world markets and creating a high wage economy for the citizens of the state.
For additional information visit www.ourparks.org or uatechpark.org; for business assistance contact: John Grabo, 520-382-2486, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Green Businesses Can Thrive in a Native Environment
Long before “green initiatives” and “adaptive reuse” became a part of our every day vernacular, the Ak-Chin Indian Community was the very definition of environmental sustainability and ecological responsibility. In fact, the word “Ak-Chin” means “mouth of the wash” and refers to a type of farming that relies on washes—seasonal flood plains created by summer rains. From their early roots with the Papago and Pima tribes in the 1600’s, the Ak-Chin Indian Community was founded as a small agrarian community in the Southwest that eventually grew its farm enterprise to become one of today’s largest farming communities in the country.
Amid the pristine desert of the Santa Cruz Valley in southwestern Pinal County, AZ, the Ak-Chin Indian Community has unveiled its newest enterprise—the Santa Cruz Commerce Center—which is conveniently located between the Arizona cities of Maricopa and Casa Grande, just 16 miles south of Phoenix and 75 miles northwest of Tucson. With access to major thoroughfares including Interstate 8 and 10 as well as state highways 347, 238 and 84, the Commerce Center sits just west of the Phoenix Regional Airport at Murphy Road and Highway 238, ideally positioned away from the congestion of major metro areas.
Still, it is also easily within range of ready labor pools from Maricopa, Casa Grande, Chandler and the Ak-Chin Indian Community. According to a 2009 labor study, in the adjacent Maricopa area alone, the workforce is highly educated “with 53% working in management and other professional occupations.” Moreover, “the majority of the Maricopa workforce would leave their current company for a closer workplace and over 60% would even consider changing their career or accepting reduced pay if a local job presented an opportunity.”
Zoned for I-1 and I-2 use, the Commerce Center is focusing on attracting green industries, tech businesses, small manufacturing operations and other types of light industrial and office/warehouse/showroom operations. More than 100 acres of shovel-ready lots ranging from 1.2 acres and up are immediately available for ground lease and may be reconfigured to fit project needs. Consolidated parcels as large as 20 acres can be arranged. In addition a five-suite flexible office/warehouse complex is now under construction and will be available for occupancy by March 2011.
The Commerce Center property was completely redeveloped by the Ak-Chin Indian Community between 2007 and 2008. As part of the renovation, all utilities were upgraded; new streets and landscaping installed; and water supply improvements have been completed, allowing an even wider range of small green manufacturing and production facilities to be accommodated. Police, fire, water, sewer and electrical utilities are provided by the Community and tenants will have the advantage of lower utility rates and substantial savings on real property tax.
The Santa Cruz Commerce Center is being operated and managed by the Ak-Chin Industrial Park Board. The Board is committed to customizing reasonable long-term lease arrangements that are attractive for business. Ak-Chin Industrial Park Board Chairman, Charles Carlyle says, “If you have heard that working with tribes is difficult, you haven’t worked with Ak-Chin. We are committed to being responsive and building mutually beneficial relationships with our tenants.”
With an average year round temperature of 72°, the area’s sunny, warm weather is just another reason to grow your business in a native environment. For more information about Santa Cruz Commerce Center, visit www.leaseakchin.com. For leasing information, contact Phil Entz 520-568-3246 or Lester Tsosie at 520-568-1062.
A World-Class Biomed Park Rises in the Heart of Memphis
Bioscience already is a primary driver of the economy in Memphis, TN, with about 176 biomedical facilities employing more than 30,000. Bioscience industry growth in Memphis has been double the U.S. rate for the past decade, and one in every four new jobs in the city is bioscience-related. The city ranks as the eighth-largest medical center in the nation and is a regional hub for clinical care.
Memphis is a worldwide leader in orthopaedic and spinal implants development and orthopaedic device manufacturing, capturing an estimated 20 percent ($6.5 billion) of global orthopaedic revenues. Memphis firms represent the full life cycle of orthopaedic and medical implant product development from research to product design to clinical development to manufacturing and distribution. Major implant manufacturers include Medtronic Sofamor-Danek, Smith & Nephew Orthopaedics, and Wright Medical.
GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Schering-Plough also have major operations in Memphis, as do Sandvik Medical Solutions, Engineered Medical Systems (EMS), Y&W Technologies, and Onyx Medical Corporation.
Higher education biomedical programs in Memphis include the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Southern College of Optometry, University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy and the University of Memphis Department of Biomedical Engineering. Of the approximately 6,800 graduates each year, 32 percent (almost 2,200) earn bioscience-related degrees.
The city is home to Baptist Memorial Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, Methodist University Hospital, the Med, Memphis VA Hospital, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and the internationally recognized St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (a $500-million per year enterprise).
The Memphis BioWorks Foundation is executing a bold plan to leverage all of these assets and organically grow the city’s booming bioscience sector. At the core of this strategy is the UT-Baptist Research Park, a 10-year, $500-million project now rising on 6.5 acres in the heart of the Memphis Medical Center, adjacent to the UT Health Science Center, the state’s primary medical school.
The park is being built on land donated by Baptist Memorial Health Care. When fully completed, it will feature 1.2 million square feet of laboratory, research, education, and business development space. The six-phase master plan envisions a research, incubator and commercial center dedicated to the bioscience industry. Six buildings with an average size of 200,000 square feet will include:
• Regional Biocontainment Lab offering biosafety level (BSL) 2 and 3 laboratory modules
• Cadaveric training academy and high-speed computation facilities
• Accessible vivarium space and management of live animal studies
• A new College of Pharmacy building at the UT Health Science Center
• Build-to-suit lab and office space
• Facilities for training sessions, meeting space and security
With research and laboratory space available from 1,000 to more than 100,000 square feet, the $80-million Memphis Bioworks Innovation Center Research Tower 1 will provide the flexibility to accommodate tenants of all sizes. Space can be custom-designed to fit each tenant’s initial needs and also provide for future expansion within the UT-Baptist Research Park. Ground will be broken for the Innovation Center next year; it is expected to become operational within 24-36 months. The tower is designed as laboratory “shell space” providing flexibility for a variety of future uses.
A primary component of the research park is a vivarium and laboratory facility connected to the tower and designed to support research needs for tenants. The research tower 1 footprint comprises approximately 200,000 square feet in seven floors. The initial construction of the vivarium, set to begin at the end of this year, will be approximately 40,000 square feet with the ability to expand in the future.
The UT-Baptist Park vivarium—known to researchers as the “mouse house”—will be used to test drugs on rodents prior to FDA approval for use by humans. According to Brandon M. Wellford, chief financial officer and director of real estate for Memphis BioWorks Foundation, the vivarium at UT-Baptist Park will have a commercial focus that similar facilities based at universities are lacking.
“Almost every university has a space like this, but what will make our facility unique is its ability to use the protocols that meet the FDA standards for testing,” Wellford told Business Facilities. “We have a commercial focus to this facility that universities don’t have, so we can take early-stage work that’s done in a university setting and transfer it into our facility to get a product approved for market.”
Wellford estimates that the vivarium will keep in Memphis up to $5 million per year in testing work currently going to other locations around the country. He also predicted the vivarium will become a major test site for small start-up bioscience businesses.
“Large pharmaceuticals companies can afford to own and operate their own [testing] space, but small start-up companies don’t have access to these types of facilities. One of the reasons we are building this is to support our current cluster of companies,” Wellford said. “Our plan is to provide a commercialization center so that companies that need this type of work can operate right here in our facility and have access to and work alongside primary staff in the facility to conduct their research.”
Already completed and ready to begin operations in about four weeks is the Regional Biocontainment Lab. The UT Health Science Center will operate the biocontainment facility, primarily doing research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the first six to nine months of operation. The work initially will be limited to NIH research so that the complex air exhaust systems at the biocontainment facility can be validated and properly balanced, Wellford said. Once the air ventilation system checks out, the facility will begin accepting contracts from industry.
The remaining phases of the plan for UT-Baptist Research Park will be executed “based on growth demand,” Wellford said.
Wellford expects this growth mainly to be “organic”—meaning primarily home-grown, instead of imported from other locations.
“Our strategy is built on organic growth,” he explained. “Everyone hopes to attract [businesses] from around the country to locate in their community, but we have an active, vibrant cluster that we feel we can grow over time, and which will fill the [Innovation Center].”
However, Memphis BioWorks also is counting on the city’s reputation as a global center for orthopaedic medicine and implants to attract start-ups from across the U.S. “We can provide all of the elements [they need] to be successful, from the capital to the labs for testing and the contract manufacturers to produce your product,” he noted.
According to the Memphis BioWorks CFO, two private venture capital funds (including a fund called Memphis Bio Ventures) have provided $75 million in funding for projects focused on orthopaedics and medical devices; Memphis BioWorks Foundation also has an organization called Innova Memphis that provides seed capital for early-stage bioscience investments.
“We’ll make investments as much as $1 million to a single entity,” Wellford said, adding that the seed funding is mainly public dollars.
Wellford said he does not expect manufacturing or distribution facilities to locate within the UT-Baptist Park because of the abundant warehouse space in Memphis. Memphis has more than 160 million square feet of warehouse space with an average size for current construction of approximately 500,000 square feet (over 11 acres) per building.
The Tennessee city on the banks of the Mississippi also is a global distribution center that is especially suited to overnight shipping of critical medical components and organic material (Memphis International Airport is the world hub of FedEx).
The diversity of biomedical university programs in Memphis is a key driver of the continued expansion of the bioscience industry in the city, Wellford said, because of the large numbers of skilled technicians emerging from post-doctorate programs.
“At any given time, there are about 200 post-docs working at
St. Jude’s,” he explained. “Post-doc positions generally are 1-2 years in length. So, at any time, we probably have about 100 people who are looking over their shoulder at the next opportunity and where they can get their next position.”
Memphis also boasts world-class medical training programs. The Medical Education and Research Institute trains an estimated 10,000 doctors per year; its students practice placing medical implants in cadavers.
According to Wellford, Memphis also has become a major center for clinical care because of its geographic location. “We are in the geographic center of the U.S. and we are a gathering spot for clinical care for a fairly large region,” he said.
Tamana InTech Park – the Caribbean’s Home for Technology Business
The tiny Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) has enjoyed a history rich with major economic success—so much so, that it is rapidly becoming recognized as an industrial powerhouse in the region. With over 100 years of success in the energy sector, the country, which is slightly smaller in size than the U.S. State of Delaware, has already made its name on the global map as the world’s leading exporter of ammonia and methanol and the single largest supplier of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to the United States.
Now, with the nation’s attention focused on building on its international success and diversifying its economy, T&T’s vision for a post-carbon economy will take a tangible first step forward with the soon-to-be-opened Science and Technology facility: Tamana InTech Park.
Tamana is the first location of its kind in T&T and, indeed, the first park found in the English-speaking Caribbean. It has been established for scientific excellence in commercial research and development and dedicated solely to offering a premier location which facilitates the growth of non-energy, knowledge-intensive sectors through business clusters.
When open for business in 2011, innovative companies of all sizes located on the Park—from university spin-offs to large multi-national technology firms—can make use of the networking benefits derived from being located within the Park’s four special technology clusters, essentially making Tamana a well-connected business community. These technology zones include the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) zone; the High Value-Added Manufacturing zone; the Ago-Technology zone; and the Mixed Use zone—which can incorporate other high-technology sectors such as Renewable Energy or Biotechnology. The essence of the clusters at Tamana lies in the ability of the Park’s tenants to develop relationships through strategic partnerships among companies, customers, suppliers, research and education institutes as well as the wider business community.
As one of the largest technology parks in the world, developed over 1,100 acres, Tamana InTech Park ranks comparable in size to other technology park juggernauts in the North and Latin American region. Constructed with modern and sophisticated physical infrastructure and recreational facilities, Tamana InTech Park is remarkably equal to any world-class international science park.
The Park also offers first-class ICT networks, most notably its Tier III Data Centre—one of two to be found in the Caribbean. Being located in a nation ranked among the best in the Caribbean region in terms of ICT sector readiness and growth, positions the Data Centre as a regional leader in ICT solutions, providing services to both local and international businesses and investors. Co-location, hosting, back-up storage, disaster recovery and remote support are just some of the services offered by the Tamana InTech Park Data Centre.
The promise of the Tamana model of ecological soundness rests on a foundation of the ability to seamlessly merge natural and man-made elements. The Park, built on a natural reserve, has dedicated 30 percent of its acreage to remain green space, which, when fully built out, will include parks, and trails for biking and hiking. The Flagship Building, which will be open for tenants’ use, also offers premier office accommodation with a layout that can be adapted to suit tenants’ needs and designed to be resource-efficient, while minimizing its environmental impact and increasing user productivity and health. Some of the Flagship’s “green” features include water conservation, optimal indoor environmental quality through an automated Building Management System (which controls air quality, temperature and lighting) and waste minimization. It is also expected that tenants who choose to build their own accommodation on land provided at the Park will respect the environmental regulations within the Park.
Access to a research and development institution, the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) is another attraction for innovators and high-technology based businesses.
Built over 152 acres and a major tenant at the Park, UTT will provide entrepreneurs with access to a vast pool of intellectual resources, as well as scientific and research expertise in fields ranging from ICT to Renewable Energy.
The university will also lend its expertise to the Trinidad and Tobago Innovation Centre (TTIC), housed in the Flagship Building at Tamana InTech Park and providing state of the art suites on the most flexible terms with a range of fit-out options. The 5,000 sq. ft., technology-based facility is designed to accommodate new and growing businesses with management guidance, access to appropriate rental space, shared business services and equipment and bundled technology support services—which are just some of the many support services that will enable the successful acceleration of start-up enterprises. It is expected that as the TTIC’s businesses grow, they would be able to relocate to the bigger premises of the Park.
Tamana InTech Park will see the process of collaboration between industry and university, the availability of first class technical infrastructure support, the convergence of leading companies and institutions and the spawning of technology start-ups—all surrounded by a beautiful landscape and located in the Caribbean’s industrial powerhouse. T&T’s rapid industrial growth, coupled with its investment in education and science, has already attracted many technology-based companies, with many more taking a second look at the newest opportunity presented by Tamana InTech Park, to be at the centre of the region’s unique research, science and technology hub.
For more information on Tamana InTech Park, please visit www.tamana.com.