View Full Version : Presby Research Park outlines future plans

05-22-2006, 07:53 AM
Growing research at Presbyterian park

By Jim Stafford
The Oklahoman

With 550,000 square feet in six buildings valued at nearly $100 million, the future may include a hotel and conference center.

An artistís drawing shows the Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park when the campus is completed. No specific time-frame has been set for completion said J.R. Cayton, the foundationís vice president for operations. Future buildings and a parking garage are outlined in red. Photo provided by Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park.

Building the unexpected
Building No. 9 on the southeast corner of the campus could bring a surprise, said J.R. Caton, vice president of Research Park operations. Instead of the traditional research park building with office and lab space, foundation officials are considering building a hotel and conference center on the site.

The earth is moving again on the campus of the Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park.

Big yellow bulldozers are clearing a wide swath of ground just west of the park's parking garage where a second garage will be built. Just north of the garage, a seventh building soon will be started in what ultimately will be a 10-building campus.

"We will build the second parking garage and Building Seven simultaneously," said J.R. Caton, vice president of Research Park operations. "It will be a two-year project."

The Research Park already features six buildings with 550,000 square feet that are valued at about $100 million. Building Seven will add 147,000 square feet of lab and office space for bioscience-related businesses.

The new construction has long been planned, but its start comes just as the research park reached virtual capacity. Occupancy is at 97 percent, Caton said.

"We have little pockets left we can lease," he said. "We weren't in any fast-track mode prior to the (recent) Walgreens deal, but when they moved in they took almost 60,000 square feet, with the right of refusal on another 12,500."

Walgreens opened what it calls a "clinical care center" last year that offers round-the-clock counseling and support services to pharmacists, doctors and benefit providers in the 755 Research Parkway building. In announcing plans to open the center in August 2005, Walgreens said it would employ 125 people at the location.

Including the Presbyterian Health Foundation offices and research park management office, 49 tenants are in the park. The park is just off Lincoln Boulevard, south of NE 8, and is part of the Oklahoma Health Center campus, which includes the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.

Dr. Stephen M. Prescott, president of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, said the park was built with "extraordinary" vision that benefits the entire state.

"For the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, it provides an attractive, supportive mechanism for commercializing our discoveries," Prescott said. "Right now, four spin-off ventures that were born in the labs of OMRF have grown into companies that are housed at Research Park. It has proved a tremendous asset in increasing the critical mass of scientists and biomedical research projects in this region."

Greg Main, chief executive officer at i2E, the not-for-profit corporation that mentors many of the state's emerging biotech-related companies, described the park as a "key success factor" for its clients. OU researchers and scientists from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation are located just blocks away from the park.

"First and foremost there is the proximity value," Main said. "Everyone and everything is so handy that efficiency in communications is greatly enhanced. Then there are the intangible benefits that occur just because you continually run into colleagues and have impromptu meetings and conversations."

Added Michael Carolina, executive director of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, those "collegial relationships" that the park facilitates enhance its value to tenants.

"It is an environment that fosters the exchange of ideas," Carolina said. "It can be favorably compared to a university campus. These are places where research happens and where innovation happens."

That campus is changing once again with the start of new construction.

As soon as the parking garage and Building Seven are completed, Caton anticipates construction on an eighth building will begin, with work on the final two buildings following to complete the campus.

Building Nine on the southeast corner of the campus could bring a surprise, he said. Instead of the traditional research park building with office and lab space, foundation officials are considering building a hotel and conference center on the site.

"Given the difficulty in finding accommodations downtown, it makes sense," Main said. "It would certainly enhance the attractiveness of the campus."

Caton said construction of Building 10 is tenuous because an oil well is on the site. The foundation cannot build on the site as long as its well's owner retains the right to keep the well open, according to Oklahoma law, he said.

Construction won't end with completion of the build-out of the current campus. The foundation owns title to property on the east side of Lincoln, to which officials envision expanding the Park. It is located within an area within NE 4 to NE 8 and from Lincoln on the west to Lottie on the east.

The expansion to the east could begin within the next decade, Caton said. That's assuming the remaining buildings on the current campus are built on schedule and filled with tenants.

"Based on our track record, it takes about 18 months to build a building, and historically it has taken us six to nine months to fill it up," he said.

Meanwhile, the big yellow bulldozers are moving earth on the campus to fulfill that vision. Demand for lab and office space for biotech-related companies are driving the construction.

"I see no reason to think that the pace will slow dramatically," Main said.

05-22-2006, 09:33 AM
Thanks for posting this. In case you guys haven't been down there in awhile, looks like the foundation just bought a huge area of land. They just bought an enormous apartment complex east of Lincoln and are in the process of clearing it. They have tons of land to expand. I look forward to the park expanding east as they run out of land in their current location.

This is the future of Oklahoma City.

05-22-2006, 01:51 PM
This is great news. Although, I would like to see them first build on the east side of Lincoln. That run down ,what is left of a, neighborhood needs to go as soon as possible as well as the boarded up apartments.

Maybe they could buy up the houses and buildings east of Lincoln and at least tear them down, they are definitely eyesores.

Nonetheless, this is great news.