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Old Dominion University today announced the creation of Innovation Research Park @ ODU, an $80 million economic development project that will bring together university intellectual capital, faculty and students with private-sector companies to pursue research, technology development and business-creation opportunities. The university also staged a high-tech virtual groundbreaking to mark the commencement of work on the park's first building.

"Innovation Research Park @ ODU demonstrates the priority the university places on leveraging research and academic strengths to support economic development, while providing additional space for our flourishing research enterprise centers," said President Roseann Runte. "It offers an avenue for the university's research platforms to develop in new directions, such as our world-renowned modeling and simulation program addressing homeland security, transportation logistics and medical imaging."

Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Michael J. Schewel, who participated in the unveiling and groundbreaking ceremony, agreed.

"Economic growth in today's economy is increasingly tied to the creation of new knowledge and the development of new processes," he said. "For that reason, Innovation Research Park @ ODU will be a catalyst for new business and economic development in Hampton Roads and across Virginia."

To be located in the 75-acre, mixed-use University Village, the research park initially calls for two buildings along Monarch Way between 41st and 43rd streets, with the potential for two additional buildings, including a signature facility on Hampton Boulevard and one just south of 41st Street.

"Today's announcement and groundbreaking represent another milestone in the remarkable history and growth of Old Dominion," said Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim. "The new park will add immeasurably to the enviable reputation of Norfolk and ODU."

With easy access to Old Dominion faculty and students, plus a full complement of business, cultural and social amenities nearby, Innovation Research Park @ ODU provides a compelling location for established and emerging high-tech companies.

"Today's progressive companies recognize that knowledge workers are as interested in quality-of-life issues as they are in business issues," said Runte. "With an office in ODU's research park, employees have access to The University Village shops, a new golf course, sailing center, coming indoor tennis center and health and fitness facility, and entertainment at the Ted Constant Convocation Center, just outside their door."

Designed by UJNM architects of Philadelphia, the park's first 100,000-square-foot, five-story building begins construction in January, with completion anticipated by spring 2007. The Class "A" office/lab building will feature a brick-and-glass frame and a precast façade.

Old Dominion offices will occupy about 40 percent of the building, including the Office of Research, Research Foundation, Lean Manufacturer Institute, Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, Computational Intelligence and Machine Vision Laboratory, Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, Center for Advanced Ship Repair and Maintenance, National Center for System of Systems Engineering, Virginia Applied Technology and Professional Development Center, and Office of Spatial and Cartographic Information.

Townsend Capital, a national real-estate investment firm headquartered in Towson, Md., is the project owner-developer for the first building. GVA Advantis has been appointed exclusive leasing agent and property manager.

This marks the first venture into the Hampton Roads market for Townsend, which has offices in Colorado, Missouri and New Jersey. Townsend has built its business around relationships with large national and multinational corporations and institutions. Substantially all of the company's projects involve serving the needs of this demanding clientele. Relationships have included Lucent, AT&T, Prudential, Lexmark, TYCO International, Merrill Lynch, University of Pennsylvania, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Nippon BioMedical Laboratories and others. Townsend recently completed the first flexible wet lab facility in the University of Maryland Baltimore BioPark and is involved in several other institutional projects across the country.

Townsend President James R. Berens noted, "Based on our experience in similar projects, Innovation Research Park @ ODU possesses all those elements we consider critical for success - a strong reputation for research, visionary administration, active university involvement, city, state and community support, a well master-planned site contiguous to the university creating a sense of community, and a well designed, flexible, cost-effective research facility."

This article was posted on: November 15, 2005

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Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.