Chandler officials don’t want to place all of their economic development eggs in one basket — instead, they want to hatch some in a $15 million bioscience technology “incubator.”
The City Council recently approved an $81,000 contract to begin planning a community technology incubator and accelerator that economic development officials say would help diversify Chandler’s already strong foothold in the high-tech arena. The facility would help fledgling bioscience companies, especially those in the nanotechnology field, get off the ground.
“Chandler is already a signature technology community,” said Christine MacKay, an economic development specialist for the city. She specifically noted Intel and Motorola, which both have large facilities there.
The high-tech mix in Chandler has helped the city top the state in per capita income, and the incubator would help maintain that status, she said.
City officials will work with the Illinois-based Facilities Solutions Group to come up with a plan to build and operate the facility somewhere in Chandler’s Price Road Corridor. The goal is to find a partnership between the city and the private sector that would help subsidize the complex project. It will include specialized features, such as the laboratories needed for bioscience research.
So far, planners estimate the facility’s first phase would include a 50,000-square-foot building to house one operating company, another that’s midway through the startup process, and a third still in development. The major company would essentially underwrite the smaller operations.
MacKay gave one possible scenario: The major company could have an agreement for first rights on the smaller companies’ products. They would act as their research and development arm, she said.
The facility also would keep Chandler within a Valleywide effort to expand the region’s bioscience presence.
“This is a way to add depth to the economy,” said Troy Ignelzi, vice president of emerging technologies with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “The idea is to foster innovation in the region.”
Several private and public projects have launched in recent years, including the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, the Transitional Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix, and the collaborative biomedical campus for ASU and the University of Arizona in downtown Phoenix.