By Jenny Wells-Hosley
Representatives from the University of Kentucky, the Woodbury Corporation and state and local officials broke ground on what will soon become a home for early stage, high-tech companies from across Kentucky.
The new $15 million development on UK’s Coldstream Research Campus will offer these early stage companies office and laboratory space in an environment where they can further develop and commercialize their products and services.
“When we think about strengthening our economy — particularly following the challenges we’ve faced over the past year — we believe that partnership with the city and the business community is the best way to move forward,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “This space will create new opportunities for businesses to establish themselves here in Kentucky, create jobs and contribute to economic growth. We look forward to continuing in our role as the University of, for and with Kentucky.”
The new facility will be named “The Core — Collaboration. Research. Entrepreneurship,” and is designed to be the first stop for companies looking to locate on the research campus. The project will add much needed wet lab space in Central Kentucky, as well as working space near the interstates for companies and individuals that need to travel quickly to regional facilities.
Kentucky Technology Inc. (KTI), a subsidiary of the UK Research Foundation, will master lease 20,000 square feet of the building’s estimated 40,000 square feet. KTI plans to sublease its space to appropriate high-tech companies. The facility will bring in not only startup companies being incubated at UK, but other companies moving into the commonwealth.
“KTI’s experience as a master lessor and support from our board provided a strong anchor tenant which enabled this project to move forward,” said George Ward, president of KTI. “The Core will provide an opportunity for more early-stage high-tech companies to flourish in Lexington as they grow well-paying jobs and create new products that improve people’s lives.”
The Core was made possible through a public-private partnership with the Woodbury Corporation, the company developing the facility.
“Woodbury Corporation is honored to bring its 100-year history in commercial real estate to work with the University of Kentucky on the Coldstream Research Campus, and provide a home for Kentucky Technology Inc.,” said Rick Woodbury, chairman of Woodbury Corporation. “Like other research parks that we partner with, we foresee continued growth and success at this campus that will surely establish it as the premier location for technological innovation in the region.”
The UK Board of Trustees approved construction of the facility and the partnership just one year ago — a timeline that officials agree is a testament to prioritizing innovation and economic development in Lexington and the commonwealth. The project was also supported and expedited through partnerships with state, city and local officials. A product development initiative (PDI) grant created by the state and the Kentucky Association for Economic Development and supported by Commerce Lexington will enable the Coldstream Research Campus to receive a $500,000 matching grant to develop lab space in the new building.
“An important part of securing a brighter future for Kentuckians is our ability to establish Kentucky as a premier destination for high-tech businesses,” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. “The addition of The Core at UK’s Coldstream Research Campus is evidence that PDI is one of a number of tools that can help us do just that. This new research lab will be a gateway for innovative startups looking to take that next step in their development. I want to congratulate everyone at UK, as well as their partners, on this significant step forward to ensure the sustained success of businesses in Kentucky.”
“This is exciting news for Lexington and Central Kentucky,” said Ray Daniels, Commerce Lexington Inc. board chair. “Having new lab space is critical not only to further generate ideas and innovation, but also to use as a tool in recruiting new business to Lexington. This will be a tremendous asset to grow our technology and life sciences sectors, as it will create more opportunities for expansion. The Commerce Lexington Inc. economic development team was proud to work with University of Kentucky officials to help secure the grant for this project. It was a true team effort.”
Through a change in Coldstream’s zoning definition and providing tax incentives, the city of Lexington has been an instrumental partner in the progress of the facility as well.
“Coldstream Research Campus is an important key to economic development and growth in Lexington,” said Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton. “The partnership we’ve built with the University of Kentucky to develop this area creates a live, work, play and innovative environment. Lexington will continue its growth as a hub for high-tech development, and The Core is going to be a critical part of our move forward.”
Construction is expected to be completed in early 2022.
-Jenny Wells-Hosley is with UKNow at the University of Kentucky.
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