WPI and Worcester Business Development Corp. will launch this fall a new life science-based campus in Worcester. Gateway Park, scheduled to open in September, is an 11-acre, mixed-use complex that will serve as a stimulus for economic development and a catalyst for life science cluster expansion in Worcester and throughout the state.
WORCESTER, Mass. – Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and Worcester Business Development Corp. (WBDC) will launch this fall a new life science-based campus in Worcester. Gateway Park, scheduled to open in September, is an 11-acre, mixed-use complex that will serve as a stimulus for economic development and a catalyst for life science cluster expansion in Worcester and throughout the state.
Featured in a tour during BioParks 2007, as well as at the National Bio2007 Conference in Boston this past May, Gateway Park will open at an opportune time, coinciding with Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick’s pledge at BIO2007 to invest $1 billion to promote and support biotechnology development initiatives over the next 10 years through the newly developed Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative.
In 2005, ground was broken for Gateway Park to build a new neighborhood that would serve as a new “gateway” to Worcester and showcase the city’s vibrant and growing life sciences and bioengineering industry. A significant investment has been made in the Gateway Park property, totaling more than $75 million to date, including the cost of preserving an historically-significant building, designing and constructing the WPI Life Science and Bioengineering Center, constructing a parking garage and surface lots, and making roadway improvements. At completion, Gateway Park will feature more than $250 million in private investment and approximately 750,000 square feet of research and development and office space geared to the life sciences, and will create 1,600 to 2,000 high-wage and high-skill jobs. An additional a 1.7-acre parcel is available for housing and retail development.
While many colleges and universities are physically removed from their host community, WPI made a deliberate decision to integrate the university further into the city of Worcester with Gateway Park. WPI President and CEO Dennis D. Berkey enhanced his institution’s goals of fostering the growth of life sciences education and research and accelerating economic development in its home region by locating the university’s Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center in Gateway Park. The center, which opened in April, has more than 112,000 square feet of leasable space, 80 percent of which has been leased by WPI for its life science-related graduate research programs from four academic departments, the WPI Bioengineering Institute (BEI), and the university’s Corporate and Professional Education Division. The Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center is the first of many buildings to open in Gateway Park. Additional parcels are available for development.
In addition to WPI, Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI) has moved its headquarters and a new incubator facility to Gateway Park. MBI, which was founded more than two decades ago, is a private, non-profit economic development organization that supports life science companies through its incubator program. Blue Sky Biotech Inc., a contract research organization, is the anchor tenant, and it leases approximately 3,800 square feet. Blue Sky already has ties to WPI, whose academic researchers possess strength in biophysics that meld with Blue Sky’s discovery biologists.
About Worcester Business Development Corporation
Established in 1965, the Worcester Business Development Corp. (WBDC) is a non-profit business organization whose mission is to serve as an innovative and leading force in the economic development of the Worcester region, resulting in job creation and tax base growth. Since its inception, WBDC has been responsible for developing seven industrial parks, creating thousands of jobs and significantly expanding the region’s industrial tax base. WBDC’s accomplishments include Higgins Industrial Park and Gold Star Distributor Park in Worcester, Goddard Industrial Park in Shrewsbury, and Holden Industrial Park in Holden. In the late 1980s, WBDC succeeded in developing the successful Massachusetts Biotechnology Research Park, and recently opened a new technology park, Centech Park, in Grafton. With a recent focus on downtown Worcester and Brownfields revitalization, WBDC is continuing its vision of economic development through property restoration and environmental remediation.