Danforth Center and Wexford Science+Technology To Break Ground on New Life Science Biopark
January 15, 2008Danforth Center and Wexford Science+Technology To Break Ground on New Life Science Biopark
State Of Missouri, St. Louis County, And the City Of Creve Coeur Support The New Bio-Research and Development Growth Park at the Danforth Center To Assist Start-up Plant Science Companies
St. Louis - The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center announced today that Wexford Science+Technology, LLC of Hanover, Maryland will start construction of a new 118,000 square-foot multi-tenant, post-incubation, wet laboratory and office building that will be the first of three new buildings in a new research park to be called the BioResearch and Development Growth Park at the Danforth Center to support the needs of start-up life science companies.
"This is an important step in the expansion of the Danforth 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," said Danforth Center Chief Operating Officer Sam J. Fiorello. "The new BioResearch 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."
The buildings within BRDG Park will contain wet laboratory and office space to support the scientific and business needs of emerging life science companies. With offices directly adjoining the laboratory space, companies in BRDG Park can more efficiently conduct research to improve product development. Additionally, researchers working in BRDG Park will have direct access to the intellectual capital of Danforth Center scientists to discuss research as well as access to the Center's greenhouse, growth chambers, microscopy and proteomics facilities and other vital scientific equipment at significantly reduced costs.
Wexford Science+Technology specializes in real estate solutions for high technology and life sciences companies and has been active in the St. Louis market since 2000 and recently completed a building for Washington University in St. Louis.
"We recognized the increasing demand for larger lab and office space from companies in St. Louis' science-focused business incubators," said Wexford President James R. Berens. "In 2007, it became clear that the companies in the NIDUS Center and the Center for Emerging Technologies needed larger lab and office space and were interested in remaining close to the Danforth Center, where these companies currently receive valuable scientific counsel and access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment that these businesses otherwise could not afford."
Construction of the first building in BRDG Park will cost approximately $36.1 million and initially will be home to more than six companies. The State of Missouri supported the construction project through a contribution of $1 million in Missouri state tax credits. Wexford made a $2 million contribution to the Missouri Development Finance Board to secure the $1 million in state tax credits.
"The new $1 million in contribution tax credits are part of our continuing effort to nurture the life sciences industry in St. Louis and throughout Missouri," said Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, Chairman of the Missouri Development Finance Board. "The Danforth Center is an important component in helping create new jobs in Missouri. In 1998, the Missouri Development Finance Board approved $25 million in Missouri tax credits, one of the largest gifts of tax credits by the MDFB to a single organization, to take a leadership role in financing the construction of the Danforth Center's main building."
St. Louis County government is vital in supporting the construction of the first new building by providing Chapter 100 tax abatements. The new post-incubation facility will play a key role in growing the already thriving plant and life sciences industry in St. Louis County.
"Promoting job growth is important to the economic future of St. Louis County." said Charlie A. Dooley, St. Louis County Executive. "As the life sciences industry continues to flourish, where the average worker earns more than $50,000 annually, we believe this new research park is important to provide the space and equipment for promising companies that are ready to graduate from a business incubator, and might otherwise consider looking outside our region to find the right lab and office space."
The first new building will create more than 390 construction jobs and once completed will be home to more than 340 full-time permanent jobs.
"St. Louis County has invested in projects that have diversified the business base in the County to help retain jobs," said President and Chief Executive Officer of the St. Louis County Economic Council Denny Coleman. "This new research park will promote business growth and create additional high-tech, high-growth job opportunities that fit with the research sector strengths already in existence here."
The City of Creve Coeur and the Ladue City School District supported this project through Missouri tax credits, as the City of Creve Coeur represented the project in the application for contribution state tax credits from the Missouri Development Finance Board.
"The citizens of Creve Coeur are proud of the Danforth Center and the impact that life science companies located in our city are having not only on St. Louis and the state of Missouri, but also on the global population," City of Creve Coeur Mayor Harold L. Dielmann, said. "The City Council and I unanimously supported the application of the Danforth Center for Missouri tax credits and were delighted to represent the Center to the MDFB."
"The development of this new research park will assure that we continue to leverage the commercial potential of our community's strengths in life sciences research, and in doing so bring increasingly significant economic benefits to the people of our region and state," said Danforth Center Chairman Dr. William H. Danforth.
About The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a not-for-profit research institute with a global vision to improve the human condition. Research at the Danforth Center will enhance the nutritional content of plants to improve human health, increase agricultural production to create a sustainable food supply, and build scientific capacity to generate economic growth in the St. Louis region and throughout Missouri.
Please visit www.danforthcenter.org for additional information.
About Wexford Science+Technology
Wexford Science+Technology is a Maryland based, privately held real estate developer and investment company that specializes in the planning, development, construction and sophisticated financial structuring of complex research space for non-profit clients including universities, university affiliated research parks, and healthcare systems and corporations.
Please visit www.wexfordequities.com for additional information.