University-Industry Engagement Week

Construction begins on massive bio science park for Georgia Tech

By David Schwartz
Published: August 23rd, 2022

A massive, 18-acre innovation district at Georgia Tech in Atlanta has broken ground, launching the $1 billion effort to bolster the city’s biotech industry with start-ups and research that attracts corporations and entrepreneurs alike.

The university and its development partners held a groundbreaking ceremony last week to christen “Science Square,” which will eventually feature more than 2.3 million square feet of lab and office space spread across five buildings. It’s a medical technology counterpart to Georgia Tech’s famed Tech Square, which has spurred billions in spin off development from corporations eager to set up shop next to one of the nation’s top research institutions.

Former Gov. Sonny Perdue, recently installed as chancellor of the University System of Georgia, said the billion project will make Atlanta nationally competitive as a biotech hub, and keep more Georgia entrepreneurs from leaving the state. “That’s our goal here, proving a space where they can built it here and stay here for the economic prosperity of our citizens,” Perdue said.

The first phase of the development include 365,000 square feet of lab and office space in a 13-story building called Science Square Labs. One tenant has already signed on, Chicago-based  life science venture capital firm Portal Innovations, which plans to lease out incubator space to start-ups.

“You can’t do chemistry and biology in your bathtub at your home or in your garage,” said John Flavin, Portal’s founder and CEO. “Laboratory space is a critical.”

The site for the development falls within a federal Opportunity Zone, an area that provides tax credits for development projects in low-income neighborhoods. Georgia’s Fulton County also approved up to $29.4 million in property tax breaks Science Square.

In addition, project developer Trammell Crow has promised $500,000 per lab building, or $2.5 million across all five phases, to support community education efforts aimed at helping nearby residents gain skills to work in the life sciences industry. The entire project is expected to create about 500 jobs.

Science Square developers are hoping to tap into the same needs that drove the success of previous project like Innovation Square, noting that companies are in dire need of high-grade, move-in-ready lab space that Atlanta currently lacks.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week