Economic engine

$7.8 million federal grant helps expand KU’s entrepreneurship hub

Bioscience & Technology Business Center

The University and federal, state and local partners in October announced significant expansion of KU’s Bioscience and Technology Business Center (BTBC), thanks to a $7.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce; nearly $1.2 million from the city, county and state; and $15.5 million from private capital sources.

BTBC’s expansion will create a 70,000-square-foot building whose tenants are expected to create 250 new high-tech jobs and generate more than $140 million in private investment. The third phase of a 20-year plan announced when BTBC opened on West Campus in 2010 is a key component of the University’s ultimate goal of a project dubbed the KU Innovation Park.

“Even in the midst of the pandemic, good things continue to happen.”

“This is a collaboration bringing people together,” said Sen. Jerry Moran, c’76, l’82, one of the many dignitaries on hand for the Oct. 15 event, “that changes the nature of our state.”

“This is a collaboration bringing people together that changes the nature of our state,” said Sen. Jerry Moran, c’76, l’82, one of the many dignitaries on hand for the Oct. 15 event.

The University anticipates that when actual construction begins, about 60% of the new space—including wet labs, offices and collaborative areas—will be pre-leased to existing BTBC companies that need to expand their specialized laboratories. That will free labs and offices within the 80,000 square feet contained in the current structures on West Campus and in west Lawrence, which have been full for more than two years, allowing them to return to their intended roles as incubators for entrepreneurial research enterprises in bioscience and technology.

Bioscience & Technology Business Center groundbreaking
Chancellor Doug Girod, above with (left) Dale Seuferling, KU Endowment president, and (right) Sen. Jerry Moran.

“The BTBC is a great example of how our schools are taking a dynamic approach to expanding their footprint in their communities,” said Gov. Laura Kelly. “By building our state’s high-tech and bioscience industry clusters around the many strengths of KU, the Phase III expansion will further the BTBC’s mission, and the mission of my administration, to create a local infrastructure of talent, resources and business support that fosters sustainable economic resilience in our state.

“With the help of the emerging KU Innovation park, this BTBC expansion will bring the kind of high-wage jobs that will help Kansas retain its young, skilled and talented STEM graduates.”

In a video address to the campus community, Chancellor Doug Girod noted that with West Campus and west Lawrence BTBC facilities at full capacity with both startup companies, some of which originated at KU, and established firms, the Phase III expansion adds “significant capacity for us to welcome additional partner companies to the University.”

“Even in the midst of the pandemic,” Girod said, “good things continue to happen.”

Hinting at future prospects for the KU Innovation Park, Girod signed off his address at the Oct. 15 event with, “I hope in the very near future we’ll be here for groundbreaking on Phase IV, so stay tuned.”