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Innovation Research Park @ ODU's first $22 million building officially opened yesterday with state and regional leaders praising the unique public-private partnership that brings together university intellectual capital, faculty and students with private-sector companies to pursue research, technology development and business-creation opportunities.

"Research and development already plays an important role in the economic success of this region, and it is critical that we go a step further to commercialize that R&D into products and services that can create new economic opportunities across the region. Innovation Research Park @ ODU will bring those two essential pieces together, connecting some of our top research minds with private sector partners," said Gov. Timothy Kaine, at an afternoon ribbon cutting ceremony with ODU President Roseann Runte.

One of only a few parks in the country located on the campus of its sponsoring higher education institution, Innovation Research Park @ ODU offers access to Old Dominion faculty and students, plus a full complement of business, cultural and social amenities nearby. The building at 4111 Monarch Way is a 100,000-square-foot, five-story Class "A" office/lab with a structural steel frame and a brick and glass veneer. The development project contributed an economic output of nearly $32 million dollars and resulted in 400 new jobs.

"At Old Dominion University, our forward focused thinking delivers real world results. No where is that more evident than Innovation Research Park @ ODU," said Runte. "With our partners, we have created a significant revitalization and development effort that will dramatically transform the university and improve the surrounding community for all residents. Additionally, the companies we attract will provide our students invaluable learning experiences and job opportunities on a scale never before possible."

Located in the 75-acre, mixed-use University Village, the research park has reserved sites for four buildings, two on Monarch Way between 41st and 43rd streets, one just south of 41st Street and a signature facility on Hampton Boulevard. Currently, the University Village includes restaurants, shops and student residences. A 42,000-square-foot bookstore, Springhill Suites by Marriott hotel and the new University Gallery, featuring an impressive 300-piece folk art collection, will open later in the year.

"Innovation Research Park @ ODU will become a hub for knowledge-led economic development not only for the City of Norfolk, but also for the region and the commonwealth," said Norfolk City Councilman Barclay Winn. "The opening of this park will certainly enhance Old Dominion University's reputation as an outstanding institution of higher learning."

The first building is developed and owned by Wexford Science + Technology, a national real estate investment and development firm based in Baltimore. It is designed by UJMN Architects + Designers of Philadelphia. Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, headquartered in Baltimore, oversaw construction of the building. GVA Advantis is the exclusive leasing agent and property manager.

"This is a unique public-private partnership with Old Dominion University," said James R. Berens, president of Wexford Science+Technology. "The location on campus and the amenities provided by The University Village enhance this building considerably. This is a very desirable site, and it is clearly attracting the attention of the companies ODU wishes to bring to the park."

The initial building is 77 percent occupied, with ODU research enterprise centers accounting for approximately 60 percent of the space. At the ceremony, Runte announced EVMS Health Services, a not-for-profit physician group that supports the mission and goals of the Eastern Virginia Medical School, will occupy the fifth floor with administrative offices.

Old Dominion offices and centers located in the building include 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, CHROME and Office of Spatial and Cartographic Information.

Wexford Science + Technology, (www.wexfordequities.com) is a privately held real estate investment and development company that focuses on serving the real estate needs of science and technology based organizations. Headquartered in Baltimore, Wexford Science + Technology has projects in the contiguous United States and Hawaii, including partnerships with the University of Maryland, Baltimore, The Science Center (Philadelphia), Illinois Institute of Technology and Pennsylvania State University Hershey Medical Center.

This article was posted on: May 16, 2007

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