SOURCE: Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation

June 02, 2005 10:11 ET

Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation Selects Site for Marine Bioscience Research and Business Park

First Phase of Planning Process Completed for State-of-the-Art Facility

PROVIDENCE, RI -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 2, 2005 -- As part of an effort to support and promote the Rhode Island marine bioscience industry, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) identified a site for the establishment of a Marine BioScience Research and Business Park, and has hired a design team led by Pare Engineering Corp. to begin detailed planning for the project.

The proposed research and business park would aid established businesses, researchers, and entrepreneurs whose work has commercial applications but who have specific infrastructure requirements. That, in turn, will benefit the State of Rhode Island through job growth and the expansion of an innovative, cutting-edge industry.

"By moving forward with my vision for the Marine Bioscience Research and Business Park, we are setting the foundation for us to attract new business from throughout the world to locate here and for existing companies in this important field to grow," stated Rhode Island Governor Donald L. Carcieri. "This marks a significant investment in our scientific infrastructure, which will have a lasting legacy on our state for years to come."

With its abundance of clean seawater, powerful academic institutions and concentration of research scientists working in marine biotechnology or aquaculture, Rhode Island is ideally situated for the further development of the marine bioscience industry.

Previous studies have identified key factors limiting the growth of this industry, such as regulatory permitting, financing, water-quality consistency and high cost-to-benefit risks. The RIEDC believes a centralized marine bioscience park will be well positioned to overcome such obstacles, and serve as an international model for marine biosciences.

The site identified for the business park is located within the Quonset Point/Davisville Port and Commerce Park, in an attractive area on Narragansett Bay that is reserved for waterfront-related business. In addition to laboratory suites for researchers to pursue their business ideas -- as envisioned in Phase I of the project -- the site offers room in later phases for the establishment of commercial production facilities to bring applications to market.

"We are eager support the RIEDC on this project," said Jeff Seemann, Ph.D., Dean of the College of the Environment and Life Sciences at the University of Rhode Island (URI). "The Marine Bioscience Research and Business Park will potentially allow URI to further our research and development efforts in this area, while providing a world-class, state-of-the-art facility in which our scientists can work in tandem with other leading scientists. This project represents a great potential for our state's research and development, and biomanufacturing efforts."

In the first phase of the project, the design team led by Pare Engineering Corporation, (and included TAG Engineering, Einhorn Yaffee Prescott Architecture and Engineering, P.C.) has prepared a conceptual building and infrastructure design for a series of laboratory suites and offices.

The team also will prepare a conceptual site design and preliminary infrastructure design for the commercial production facilities envisioned in subsequent phases of the project, will develop a permitting strategy and will prepare a preliminary cost estimate for the project.

"Creating new opportunities for the scientific community to flourish in Rhode Island is key to our future economic development growth in this area," stated Michael McMahon, executive director, Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation. "This initiative represents Rhode Island's ability to leverage our key strengths into real assets that create new research and employment opportunities."

The first phase of the project is estimated to cost $19.5 million. In addition to the research facilities, this initial phase would include a seawater intake system and an effluent discharge and treatment system to ensure that the project and the businesses located there do not adversely affect water quality in the bay.

The RIEDC has identified suitable parcels of land near the proposed research and incubator facility that could be developed in subsequent phases of the project as production facilities for existing businesses looking for a place to grow as well as businesses that have found marketable applications of their research.

As the State continues to look for promising opportunities to capitalize on the endemic advantages Rhode Island businesses enjoy, the RIEDC believes that a business park to help bioscientists identify economically viable applications of their research and bring them to market is yet one more way to keep Rhode Island marching forward on the cutting edge of technological and economic innovation.

About the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation

The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) is a quasi-public agency that works to strengthen the Rhode Island economy through policies, programs, and public-private projects and partnerships. Its initiatives enhance and enrich the business environment for public and private sectors in order to create new prosperity for all Rhode Islanders. For more information about the RIEDC, please visit www.blueskyri.com.

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