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A Site Selection Web Exclusive, December 2012
WEB Exclusive story

Tradition Addition

Mann Research Center is the latest project to join a Port St. Lucie cluster.

The Tradition Center of Innovation in Port St. Lucie, Fla., continues to build institutional heft and facilities at the same time.
Photos courtesy of TCI and Mann Research Center


onstruction is set to begin this month on Mann Research Center’s first phase in the Tradition Center for Innovation (TCI), reflecting the high demand for space within the planned 44,000-sq.-ft. (4,088-sq.-m.) Mann Medical Office Building (Mann Medical One).

The building has a direct connection to the new Tradition Medical Center, a Martin Health System Hospital. Adjacent to Tradition’s prominent biotechnology research centers, the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies and Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI), Mann Medical One will house the Florida Vision Institute as well as offices for Martin Health System’s administrative team and labs for its clinical research when the building opens in late 2013.

Lease agreements have been signed with Martin Health Systems, which will occupy 25,000 sq. ft. (2,323 sq. m.) of space to include offices for administrators and internal doctors, as well as lab space for research and clinical trials; and with Florida Vision Institute, which will occupy 6,000 sq. ft. (557 sq. m.) of office and surgical space for ophthalmological services.

“Perhaps the most exciting opportunity we see with this facility is the 4,000 square feet [372 sq. m.] of lab space that will be available for clinical trials,” said John DelRusso, president of Mann Research Center. “This will foster partnerships between the research and health care organizations within TCI, providing an atmosphere in which we truly provide care from bench to bedside.”

“Having our research team in such close proximity to Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies and VGTI Florida will allow us to improve the efficiency of studies with our research partners,” said Mark E. Robitaille, president and CEO of Martin Health System.  “At the same time, having an experienced, hospital-based research team on the campus of TCI provides a powerful incentive to other life science organizations looking to relocate to the area.”

Mann Medical One will be the first facility in the 22-acre (9-hectare) Mann Research Center complex, which is designed to include multi-level buildings available for medical offices, R&D facilities with wet/dry labs and retail space.

Last February, TCI and VGTI Florida opened a new 100,000-sq.-ft. (9,290-sq.-m.) facility. Since TCI’s first anchor member, the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, expanded its San Diego-based facility to Tradition in 2006, TCI has brought an estimated 170 new jobs to the community and created an estimated 1,000 construction jobs. In addition, says TCI, business service companies that provide life science products such as cylinder gas, biological reagents, gowning, IT, office furniture, scientific equipment and others, have all seen tremendous increases in sales.

The TCI anchors are also bringing in talent: On Nov. 9 Libby Handel, Ph. D. was named Director of Business Development at Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies where she will be responsible for commercializing research and technologies, creating and managing spin-off companies, and directing technology licensing activities. Five days later,VGTI Florida announced the appointment of Keith Hinton as Development Director.

Martin Health system broke ground on an acute care and clinical trials hospital in March, and celebrated the placing of the final beam atop the facility in early November. Construction on the 201,184-sq.-ft. (18,690-sq.-m.) hospital is expected to be complete in late 2013, with a January 2014 opening. Tradition Medical Center will feature 90 patient beds with the potential to expand to approximately 300 patient beds.

“Each and every one of TCI’s anchor members have played a pivotal role in the development of this park,” said Andrew Favata, vice president of Mann Research Center, in February. “The opening of VGTI’s Florida facility further demonstrates TCI’s position as one of the only bioclusters focused on translating immunology and cancer research.”

Mann Medical One will be the first facility in the 22-acre Mann Research Center complex, which is designed to include multi-level buildings available for medical offices, R&D facilities with wet/dry labs and retail space.

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