Innovation Campus developers announce $80 million in building plans
Bolstered by a $25 million investment by the state, the Nebraska Innovation Campus Development Corp. Board of Directors has announced that the first phase of development at Innovation Campus will include four new or renovated buildings representing about $80 million in public and private investments.

Included in Phase I are:
  • A nearly 170,000-square-foot central commons building that nearly doubles the size of the original 4-H Building. State funds of $10 million will renovate the building’s east half, while the Woodbury Corp., managing partner of investors Nebraska Nova LLC, will renovate the west half. Woodbury also will build a companion building next to the 4-H Building that will add about 100,000 square feet to the existing structure.

  • A $30 million research facility focused on some of the University of Nebraska’s greatest research strengths: food, fuel and water. The facility will be built with $15 million provided by the state and matched by private philanthropy.

  • When the university successfully raises that $15 million match, Woodbury has announced that it will in turn build an equal-sized life sciences building.
“The result is four significant buildings that create the critical mass for the attraction of private-sector companies,” University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman said.

“The state investment is doing what it was intended,” Perlman said. “It is jump-starting Innovation Campus and leveraging state funds to produce private-sector investments. We are off to a good start because the Governor and the Legislature had confidence in this vision for Nebraska’s future.”

NIC development

Renovation of the 4-H Building and construction of the companion facility are scheduled to be completed by April 2013. When completed, the facilities will serve as an anchor at Innovation Campus – a central commons space housing university research, incubator businesses, translational research, convenience or retail shops, tenant offices, or laboratories. New schematic drawings and preliminary artist’s renderings for the plan for the 4-H renovation and companion building were unveiled publicly at a June “innovation celebration,” which was attended by university leadership, Gov. Dave Heineman, Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler, a number of state senators, many local business leaders and other dignitaries.

“From the very beginning, the ambitious plans for Innovation Campus have required a partnership, and that is clearly evident today,” NU President James B. Milliken said. “The commitment of the Governor and Legislature to the success of Innovation Campus – especially in difficult times – provides the impetus for initial development that will occur more quickly and be more ambitious than otherwise possible.”

Gov. Heineman said, “This is one of the most ambitious and most significant projects on the horizon for Nebraska. We want to grow and attract new, technology-focused companies to our state. Innovation Campus represents an important opportunity for the University of Nebraska to leverage its research talent to fuel new economic growth. Accelerating the development of Innovation Campus is a critical part of our vision for Nebraska’s future.”

The Governor’s initial biennial budget recommendation for Nebraska focused on education and jobs, and included a $25 million investment in Innovation Campus. This investment was included in the Legislature’s 2011-13 budget, which was approved May 26.

“Because of the leadership and cooperation of the Governor and the Legislature and the university, we are able today to move forward more quickly and to develop more space than we first thought possible,” said Zach Wiegert, manager of Nebraska Nova LLC.

The university announced in February that the Nebraska Innovation Campus Development Corp. had signed an agreement with Nebraska Nova to carry out the first phase of development of Innovation Campus. According to the agreement, Nebraska Nova will initially develop infrastructure such as roads and sewers, laying the groundwork for new and renovated facilities such as those just announced.

Site work and infrastructure development are slated for completion in 2012.

Innovation Campus is planned as a public-private sustainable research campus that will capitalize on the university’s rapidly growing research enterprise and expertise of its faculty to strengthen the economic future of NU and Nebraska. Located on 232 acres north of City Campus at the former site of the Nebraska State Fair, Innovation Campus has been in the planning and predevelopment stages since the university acquired the property on Jan. 1, 2010.

University consultants have estimated Innovation Campus could add $267 million to the state’s annual payroll, including $118 million in indirect payroll from new spinoff jobs. Innovation Campus will be developed in phases over a period of about 25 years.

For more information about Innovation Campus, visit innovate.unl.edu.

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