New facility to spur further expansion of university’s research footprint

Arizona State University will anchor a $77 million research center to be built on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix.

Baltimore-based Wexford Science & Technology LLC, a real estate company that builds research and medical centers nationwide, is building the project, which is being financed by Ventas Inc. (NYSE: VTR), a Chicago-based real estate investment trust.

The 200,000-square-foot Wexford Science and Technology building is an important step in ASU’s expansion of its research footprint in downtown Phoenix and facilitating the growth of private sector investment in bioscience and health technology, said Morgan Olsen, executive vice president, treasurer and CFO of ASU.

“This is an important part of the strategy to attract private investment in that industry to downtown Phoenix and will help a robust biomedical technology ecosystem develop there,” he said. “ASU is pleased to partner with Wexford, which has done this successfully in other places. The city of Phoenix has been an extraordinary partner, and this represents exciting progress for all involved.”

Christine Mackay, economic development director for the city of Phoenix, which owns the 7-acre vacant parcel that had previously been leased to ASU in 2015, said the property is north of Fillmore Street to Garfield Street, between Third and Sixth streets, which is northwest of the 220,000-square-foot UA Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.

ASU has sub-leased the land to Wexford for the new project, the first such private-public partnership on the Biomedical Campus.

“We’re always excited to see the Phoenix Biomedical Campus grow and look forward to a long partnership with Wexford and ASU,” Mackay said.

After it had leased the land from the city, ASU had originally looked at partnering on a development with Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong of NantWorks LLC, but that deal fell through more than two years ago.

Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO of the Arizona BioIndustry Association, said the Ventas-Wexford partnership represents an important step in the development of expanded resources to house the Valley’s growing biotech, medtech and health care sector.

“By expanding the availability of lab space and other resources that support academic and commercial research and development in the biomedical fields, this project, anchored by Arizona State University, creates more places for life-saving products and services to be developed,” she said. “It will be a welcome addition to the ecosystem that supports our bioscience community’s innovative work to improve health that is happening on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus and across the state.”

The 30-acre Phoenix Biomedical Campus has the capacity for 6 million square feet. So far, 1.6 million square feet have been built, housing ASU, University of Arizona and the Translational Genomics Research Consortium.

A Tripp-Umbach study released in 2014 showed the economic impact of the Phoenix Biomedical Campus was $1.3 billion, while UA’s medical school had a $961.6 million impact.

Clarification: While ASU has sub-leased the land to Wexford Science & Technology, which will build the new research building, the original headline on this article incorrectly implied that ASU was the developer of the project.

Source: Phoenix Business Journal by Angela Gonzales |  Febraury 11, 2019