Oct. 18, 2006 -- Citing it as an example of the intersection of academic research and commercial application, John T. Casteen III, president of the University of Virginia, and Tim R. Rose, chief executive officer of the University of Virginia Foundation, celebrated the opening of Town Center Two building, at 1001 Research Park Boulevard in the University of Virginia Research Park.
The 84,000-square-foot building is part of Town Center, anticipated to feature retail facilities, a hotel and conference center, as well as a mix of office space. Most tenants in Town Center Two will be affiliated with the National Ground Intelligence Center, which is expanding its presence in the Charlottesville region.
Addressing an audience of about 40 people, many of whom work in nearby buildings and some of whom will move into the new building, Casteen said the mission of U.Va. is “free inquiry into the nature of the universe and man’s place in it.”
Performing core research and disseminating that to the world is part of this mission, he said. Some of this research pushes the bounds of discovery and dovetails with commercial applications, which in turn develops jobs.
“Universities in this country are responsible for about 50 percent of the basic research but only about 5 percent of the patent applications,” Casteen said.
Researchers at the University have brought in about $305 million in federal and other support for basic research, Casteen said. Each $1 million in research creates about 36 jobs, which he said helps explain local prosperity.
Both Casteen and Rose cited the history of the park. Casteen said the genesis was 25 years ago, with then-University President Frank L. Hereford, who thought it would generate an economic benefit for the region. Rose said when the ground was first broken in 1998 there was uncertainty over what would be created. But he credited Leonard W. Sandridge , executive vice president and chief operating officer, with the vision necessary for the project.
“Leonard could see further than any of us,” he said. “In the future, these will be considered part of the area’s historic structures.”
There are 15 companies operating at the park currently, with about 1,000 employees, and when it is completed there will be about 3.7 million square feet of research and commercial space. He also noted that about 200 acres of the 526-acre park will be left open, as a positive amenity for the people who work there.
Rose also praised Casteen, saying he wanted the best and was raising the University to the loftiest heights.
“In his vision, this is not another business park, but an asset to the community and the commonwealth,” Rose said.
There was a ceremonial ribbon-cutting following Casteen and Rose’s remarks.
The University of Virginia Research Park is designed to support companies in a variety of businesses, from research and development to light manufacturing and knowledge-based commerce, as well as providing an environment where academic research can take place side-by-side with technology commercialization.
To date, $18 million has been invested in roads and infrastructure and seven buildings have been completed, housing 15 tenants, including MicroAire Surgical Instruments, Motion Control, PRA International, Southern Health, Battelle, Biotage, TIAA-CREF, Northrop Grumman, Athena Innovative Solutions, Adenosine Therapeutics, Pinnacle Pharmaceuticals, Pragmatics, Padow’s Hams and Deli, Booz, Allen, Hamilton and several centers of the University’s School of Medicine, including the Center for Research in Contraceptive and Reproductive Health. Site planning for Town Center Three and Town Center Four is in progress.
The U.Va. Foundation acquires, develops and manages real property, or interests in real property and related assets, to accommodate future academic, institutional and housing requirements and to promote the growth of the University's research and related activities.