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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA searches for Tech Park funding after all bonds fail

The UA Science and Technology Park is seeking help from a private partner to fund projects that were denied after voters rejected the Pima County bond proposals in November 2015.

There were seven bond packages containing 100 different projects, three of which focused on propositions involving the Tech Park.

The Tech Park, located on South Rita Road, has been operating for 21 years to help develop new companies and build new technology.

It sits on 1,345 acres of land and has 2 million square feet of offices, laboratory and production space. It houses over 40 companies that employ over 6,000 people.

“UA Tech Park is a place where we bring the university together in a community in an effort to try to move technology out into the market place,” said Bruce Wright, associate vice president of Tech Parks Arizona.

The Tech Park had projects under Proposition 425—Road and Highway Improvements; Proposition 426—Economic Development, Libraries and Workforce Training; and Proposition 428—Parks and Recreations, according to Pima County’s website.

The project under Proposition 425 proposed improvements for better circulating traffic toward the Tech Park drive, because it is the central roadway into the park. If the bond had passed, Pima County would have funded the total cost estimate of $10 million, according to Pima County’s website.

An application was submitted last year for a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant that would fund all roadway improvements, according to Wright.

Since the application was not selected, another will be submitted next year, Wright said. If successful, the Tech Park will be able to act on the proposed improvements.

Proposition 426 proposed an Innovation and Technology building for the Tech Park at The Bridges, located on 36th Street and Kino Parkway.

“The reason we are doing the second park is because some companies need a different location,” Wright said. “Whether they need to be closer to campus or they want to be close to the university hospital downtown. They tend to be companies that want to be in a more open environment.”

The proposed 180,000 square-foot building would dedicate 60 percent to office space and 40 percent to laboratory space. The goal is to accommodate the different needs of different companies.

“The parks serve the same kind of companies, but meet different kinds of company needs,” Wright said.

Pima County would have paid for $20 million of the $40 million estimate, according to the bond proposal document.

The final proposal under Proposition 428 was a request for a YMCA on the corner of the Tech Park property.

Estimated at 40,000 square feet, Pima County would have helped pay $6 million of the $12 million estimated total cost, as stated in the bond proposal document.

Tech Park representatives are going into the community to explain the purpose of the park and show viewers what market opportunities there are in Tucson.

Wright says the goal is to find interest in helping with finances and contract the facilities they are trying to build.

Since the Tech Park is not taking donations, it is looking at local, statewide and national developers and investment groups for help.

“We were talking to a local development group, one in Phoenix, one in Salt Lake City, one in Seattle and in Atlanta,” Wright said.


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