By Linda F.
ground breaking was held for the first of three new buildings
in a new $36.1 million research park designed to support the needs
of start-up life science companies.
The new Bio-Research
and Development Growth (BRDG) Park located at the Donald Danforth
Plant Science Center in Creve Coeur will be developed by Wexford
Science + Technology, LLC, a real estate investment development
company in Hanover, Md.
Wexford vice president, says the company focuses on the real estate
needs of universities or science organizations. "Our niche
is building and working with research institutions or research-based
organizations in or around their campuses. We look for industry
research-based organizations who are looking for collaboration
with private entities, meaning a place to commercialize and collaborate
with other companies."
first St. Louis project was a 200,000-square-foot medical office
building at the Washington University School of Medicine. The
building was completed in August 2006.
within BRDG Park will contain wet laboratory and office space
to support the scientific and business needs of emerging life
science companies. Having the labs and offices in close proximity
to each other will enable companies to conduct research in a more
build the three buildings in phases," Korczakowski says.
"As the buildings lease up, we will continue on to buildings
two and three. They will be similar in size, but we havenŐt worked
out the final designs. The buildings have the infrastructure built
to accommodate the needs of these companies versus an office building
that wouldn't have the HVAC or mechanical components to easily
handle that type of build-out."
building at 118,000 square feet, will house post-incubation, wet
laboratories and offices of over six companies.
Center will be in the first building, he says. "And we are
negotiating with a Fortune 500 company to take space. We are also
looking at three other prospects that are currently in the region,
and hopefully will stay here."
Chief Operating Officer Sam J. Fiorello says this project was
an important step in expanding the Center. "Because the new
research park is on our property and close to our building, it
will allow our scientists and our facilities to more directly
support the needs of entrepreneurs and their start-up companies.
new Bio-Research and Development Growth Park at the Danforth Center,
or BRDG Park, is designed to provide a bridge to help turn innovative
ideas in plant and life sciences into commercial successes,"
an incubator of Nidus, will be housed in this first building,
Fiorello says, as well as a biotech training program from the
St. Louis Community College.
several graduates of the Community College biotech program who
are working in our lab now," Fiorello says. "I suspect
some of our scientists will teach courses over there, and some
of the students will intern here. It will be a wonderful opportunity
for work force development and to create a synergy to help the
region prosper in its aspirations to become the BioBelt."
with the growing trend of building green, Wexler will be going
for LEED Silver certification.
is the right thing to do," Korczakowski says. "It ultimately
leads to lower operating costs for the building and, one way or
another, that's passed onto the tenant. To maintain the environment
and help the building is a win for everyone."
is to be at least silver certified in all their projects in accordance
with the United States Green Building Council.
LOUIS? WHY NOT?
in St. Louis a couple of positive factors," Korczakowski
says. "First, these facilities are successful when public,
private and governmental entities come together to support the
project. Here you have the Danforth Center and the economic development
folks that stepped up and provided the factors that we feel is
the key to success.
an educated work force, there was already a life science presence
in the St. Louis area with a core of companies and institutions
with the Danforth Center being the anchor," he says.
for the St. Louis region with this development are obvious.
one thing," Korczakowski says, "it provides a place
for companies who are growing, either out of the Nidus center
or growing in and around the area, to stay instead of moving out
of the region.
or state government wants a growing company to relocate out of
the area, and the wet lab space provides a facility for them to
move into as needed," he says.
provides space for new companies coming in from either out of
the state or country to locate," he says. "These would
be companies that may want to collaborate with research going
on at the Danforth Center or Monsanto or other companies. These
are also the companies with the type of research that attract
bottom line," he says, "is that there needs to be somewhere
for companies coming out of Nidus or the Plant Science Center,
to grow in order to stay in the area. We can fill that gap."
FOR THE PROJECT
of Missouri is supporting the project through a contribution of
a million dollars in state tax credits. Wexford made a $2 million
contribution to the Missouri Development Finance Board to secure
the one million. St. Louis County Government is supporting construction
of the first new building by providing Chapter 100 tax abatements.
The City of Creve Coeur and the Ladue City School District supported
this project through Missouri tax credits.
site is 8 acres and while we continue to own the property, we
are leasing it to Wexford," Fiorello says. "Part of
that deal is that we would make the site improvements and infrastructure
needed on which to build the building. That's a $3 million price
tag for that."
says he did not think the current economic climate would affect
the project. "Leasing and getting the buildings filled up
to a certain level will drive Building two and three.
seeing a lot of positive momentum with the first building,"
he says. "From what we gather, the type of companies that
are looking to locate into this building, such as those doing
a lot of wet lab-type research, are companies where a lot of their
funding comes from venture capital.
"In spite of the economy, we have an aggressive schedule
and are very happy with the success of Building I.
will oversee general contracting duties for the project with Mackey
Mitchell as architect of record and Gaudreau Inc., Baltimore,
Md., as architect, planning and engineering consultant. Also involved
are Alper Audi Inc., structural engineer, Maryland Heights, Mo.;
William Tao & Associates, mechanical/electrical engineer, Webster
Groves, Mo.; Land Design Services Inc., landscaping, Chesterfield,
Mo.; and Lorax Partnership, the LEED Consultant, Columbia, Md.
community leaders involved in this initiative led by Dr. Danforth
identified the lack of available laboratory facilities as a limiting
factor for our success," Fiorello says.
To this end,
BRDG Park will lift St. Louis higher in the terms of life sciences,
promoting business growth and creating more high-tech jobs.
in the subset of life science, with plant science, I think, we
can make a case with a straight face that we are indeed the premier
location in the world of plant science and will continue to grow,"
Fiorello says. "We have a leg up and we will continue to
build on our successes."
RED CROSS RELOCATION
By Linda Jarrett
American Red Cross announced last month that it will move
its Missouri-Illinois Blood Region and National Testing
Lab from its current location at 4050 Lindell Boulevard
to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE).
move will end 50 years of the lab being at its Lindell Boulevard
location, and find a new home in a state-of-the-art 170,000-square-foot
facility on a 15-acre site at University Park on the SIUE
national study conducted six years ago, the Red Cross found
that many of its blood-processing centers had aging infrastructures
and, in order to meet the highest blood safety standards,
needed major renovations.
anticipated move from the City brings a note of sadness,"
says David A. Chumley, CEO of the Missouri Illinois Blood
Region. "The need for more room to incorporate technological
advances was a major factor in the decision to build a new
Pennekamp, special assistant to the chancellor for regional
economic development and executive director, University
Park SIUE Inc., says that the AMRAC search in the bi-state
region found 20 sites.
ultimately decided that University Park would fit their
needs," he says, adding that the trend has become for
companies to locate on campuses citing, as an example, Express
Scripts moving to the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus.
of the reasons for this was to access the talent at various
levels of the University, and one of the things that we
have in Edwardsville is a very robust health sciences curriculum,"
have nursing, pharmacy, and dentistry. Within the system,
there's a medical school in Springfield," he says.
"I think when the AMRC looked at that feature in Edwardsville
and looked at their future which depends on the ability
to attract high quality employees, that they saw there was
a real potential for a good image.
is a very engaged campus," he says. "The mission
of University Park is to give businesses a competitive edge,
to support economic development within southwestern Illinois
and the St. Louis metropolitan area, and to provide opportunities
for students and faculty."
facility, with an expected 500 employees, is projected to
cost $50 million with an estimated completion date in 2011,
according to Pennekamp.