New buildings will spur economic development, create jobs
University officials today announced plans to expand its Discovery Ridge Research Park in southeast Columbia. The expansion will involve construction of a new campus of buildings designed to incent new businesses to expand to Columbia, thus spurring the local economy and creating new high-valued jobs.
The first phase of the project will consist of a new 80,000-square-foot multi-tenant building that will include lab, office and potentially classroom space, said Greg Williams, director of University of Missouri Research Parks.
“Businesses today are looking for move-in ready facilities that can provide the environment they are looking for with minimal disruption to their operations,” said Williams. “By building a new state-of-the-art facility with dramatic architecture, amenities and sustainability in Mid-Missouri’s premier research park, we hope to attract high-tech businesses that are looking to collaborate with the university and its researchers in Columbia and perhaps its other three campuses.”
The university released a Request for Qualifications earlier this week. The request will gauge respondents’ background, financial standing, experience and ability to develop a project of this magnitude. The university hopes to select a developer by late winter.
Once a developer has been selected, Williams said the university will lease ground space at Discovery Ridge to allow the selected developer to finance, design, build, own, operate, market and sub-lease space to research-oriented tenants with an affiliation to the university. The new building is slated to be completed in early 2012. Additional buildings could be constructed concurrently or sequentially.
The new buildings will join Analytical Bio-Chemistry Laboratories, which opened at Discovery Ridge in 2008 and provides contract services to the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. The Research Animal Diagnostic Laboratory is also located in the research park.
Discovery Ridge is one of 10 research parks and commercialization sites managed by the University of Missouri System across the state. It was created in 2005 by the university’s board of curators. Phase 1 of the park consists of 139 acres. Plans call for the park to eventually expand to 550 acres.