UM Opens Its Life Science & Technology Park

The University officially dedicated its ambitious University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park (UMLSTP) at a grand opening ceremony for R+D Building One, the first of five buildings planned for the eight-acre park destined to make South Florida a biotech hub.

Touting the project as “a conduit for international partnerships,” Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., senior vice president for medical affairs, dean of the Miller School, and CEO of UHealth, said, “This spectacular facility will enable us to move research forward into advanced treatments that will be brought to patients in South Florida, across the United States, and around the world more quickly than ever before.”

UM President Donna E. Shalala called the endeavor “a game-changer” for Miami, the state of Florida, and beyond. “This is more than a building,” she told the government officials, including Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and City of Miami Mayor Tomas P. Regalado, prominent business executives, members of the community and biotech industry, and UM faculty and staff who gathered in the building’s spacious lobby for the celebration this past September.

“This is a place where education, research, and technology intersect with discovery and innovation,” Shalala continued. “This is the home of future cures and treatments for some of the most vexing and chronic problems we face today.”

Rising on land once dominated by automobile yards, the six-story, 252,000- square-foot facility houses wet and dry labs, offices, and lab-ready development suites, providing scientists, medical start-ups, pharmaceutical companies, and other ventures the kind of research space that fosters collaboration and innovation.

“There’s no place that UM’s impact is felt more than in a research park,” said James R. Berens, chairman of Wexford Science + Technology, LLC, which is developing the park.

R+D One, which has a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) designation and won the 2011 Urban Land Institute Project of the Year Vision Award, opened with a host of tenants, including Andago, a Spain-based information technology company; medical device firm Emunamedica; Community Blood Centers of South Florida; medical device company DayaMed; national intellectual property law firm Novak Druce + Quigg; the Enterprise Development Corporation of South Florida; clinical research firm AdvancedPharma; and the UM Tissue Bank, UM Brain Endowment Bank, and Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency.

In the fall, the building’s third-floor Innovation Center, an accelerator space for start-ups, was almost full.

UM, Miami Dade College, and South Florida Workforce are rolling out a new $400,000 jobs program to train candidates for the health care and biotech fields, and place them in jobs in the UMLSTP or the surrounding Miami Health District after their training.

The master plan for the UMLSTP envisions the development of 1.6 million to 2 million square feet of lab and office space. Phase one alone is projected to create more than 1,150 direct and indirect jobs, with an additional 2,700-plus direct and indirect positions created by ongoing operations, according to a recent study by the Washington Economics Group.

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