Governor Janet Napolitano, Mayor Skip Rimza, Dr. Jeffrey Trent and other dignitaries gathered Friday to celebrate the official groundbreaking of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) headquarters. The six-story, 170,000-square-foot building will form the cornerstone of the Phoenix Bioscience Center at Copper Square, a 15-acre biosciences and research campus located in downtown Phoenix. DPR construction is scheduled to complete the facility by the end of 2004.
The $46-million building will be built and owned by Phoenix, which will lease it to TGen, the International Genomics Consortium (IGC), and other tenants. TGen will occupy three floors; IGC will occupy one floor; and one floor will go to a branch of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, one of the National Institutes of Health. According to the Business Journal, Councilman Greg Stanton has said that the remaining floor will be subleased to start-up biotech companies through Alexandria Group, a real estate investment company.
State and civic leaders see the center as serving a larger long-term purpose, hoping that it will act as a gravitational force to attract elements of economic development and urban rebirth. The Arizona Department of Commerce has already identified 45 active biotech projects nationwide looking to expand or locate in Arizona, Maria Laughner, biotech specialist for the department, told the Business Journal. Decisions on four of these are planned for August, with an additional six to eight to be determined by the end of the year, she said.
Future plans for the site could include as many as 1 million square feet of labs, offices, classrooms, and other facilities, said Jason Harris, manager of the project for Phoenix, in the East Valley Tribune. The Arizona Biomedical Collaborative, a biotech workforce education and research partnership formed by the three state universities, has plans to develop its own facilities on the site, contingent on approval by the Arizona Legislature of a $440-million research funding package. Plans are also under consideration to convert three historic buildings of the Phoenix Union High School to serve as offices or classrooms, potentially establishing a biotech high school on the site.
The TGen/IGC headquarters was designed by SmithGroup, a Detroit-based architecture firm that has designed several bioscience facilities across the country. SmithGroup received a 2003 award of distinction from the City of Tempe for its mixed-use Brickyard on Mill project, and was one of only five to win a Special Mention award in R&D Magazine’s worldwide “Lab of the Year” competition, for its design of the University of California at San Francisco’s Genentech Hall.
“City of Phoenix to ante up $15M more for TGen,” Business Journal, 6/16/2003
“Lucky Friday the 13th – now the real work begins,” Arizona Republic, 6/15/2003
“Biotech beginnings,” Arizona Republic, 6/14/2003
“Building biotech’s future in Phoenix,” Arizona Republic, 6/13/2003
“Work on bioscience research center set to begin,” East Valley Tribune, 6/12/2003
“SmithGroup wins award for Tempe project,” Business Journal, 6/9/2003
“Phoenix prepares for TGen building,” Arizona Republic, 5/23/2003
“Plans for TGen headquarters unveiled,” Business Journal, 5/22/2003