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A Site Selection Web Exclusive, February 2017
WEB Exclusive story

Campus Tour

An agreement struck in December means new company activity, 1,000 construction jobs and the promise of 1,000 permanent jobs after that in Providence’s Innovation and Design District, also known as the I-195 land.
Image courtesy of Wexford Science + Technology

A number of new districts, neighborhoods, incubators and campuses are taking shape across the United States, driven by factors ranging from young startups to aging populations (or some blend thereof). Below are some snapshots and synopses of a select few, drawn from press releases and statements from the organizations behind them.

Next Generation in Philly

In Philadelphia in December, Wexford Science + Technology and the tech commercialization and incubator organization University City Science Center announced that Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) will occupy 127,000 sq. ft. and bring its successful model of supporting innovation and entrepreneurship to Philadelphia. CIC will join the Science Center at 3675 Market, a new 14-story building scheduled to deliver in the second quarter of 2018 where the Science Center will relocate and expand its headquarters.

CIC's pedigree includes innovation hubs for entrepreneurs in Cambridge, Boston, Miami, St. Louis and Rotterdam, which collectively have hosted several thousand companies. CIC’s Philly facilities will feature turnkey office and lab space, with options from a single desk or lab bench to larger team spaces. The Science Center will triple the size of its "entrepreneurs clubhouse" called Quorum to offer more meetings, events, and programming for uCity Square residents and the wider community; and build a larger, dedicated FirstHand Lab that will enable more hands-on STEAM education classes and programs serving more middle and high school students and teachers at more local schools.

“Separately, these are powerful components. Together, they will disrupt and accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship in Greater Philadelphia,” said Science Center President & CEO Stephen S. Tang.

“Combining CIC's successful model of highly-serviced small office space with the dynamic programming and resources of the Science Center at 3675 Market will create a strategic nexus within Philadelphia’s innovation ecosystem and is a model collaboration for knowledge communities around the country,” said Wexford President and CEO Jim Berens.

The building, being developed in concert with REIT Ventas, is the latest development at uCity Square, a planned 6.5-million-sq.-ft. mixed-use community consisting of office, laboratory, clinical, educational, residential, and retail space.

Rejuvenation in Rhode Island

Five hours away from Philadelphia, Wexford's involved in another game-changer in Providence's Jewelry District.

In December, the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, in collaboration with Wexford Science & Technology, announced signed letters of intent to lease space in the Phase 1 Innovation Building to be developed in Providence’s Innovation and Design District, also known as the I-195 land. CIC and Brown University’s School of Professional Studies will be the anchor tenants in the planned nearly 191,000-sq.-ft. Innovation Building.

The I-195 Redevelopment District Commission voted to authorize $18.5 million in incentives from the 195 Fund to support the $158-million project. Phase 1 of the Wexford project is expected to break ground in the second quarter of 2017 and include a 170-room Starwood hotel developed by CV Ventures. According to an economic impact analysis by the firm Appleseed, the project is expected to generate an additional $100 million in revenues to the state over the next 20 years.

“This project will support more than 1,000 construction jobs, create more than 1,000 permanent, good-paying, advanced industry jobs and spark opportunities for collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship at the heart of the 195 District,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo, joined by Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. “Because of the investments we’ve made to create a talented workforce and the contributions our colleges and universities make every day, Cambridge Innovation Center is planting a flag in our capital city. This development will have a lasting impact on Providence’s skyline and the state’s economy."

“Reaching an agreement on a comprehensive public/private partnership with Wexford and CIC is a critical milestone for 195 and is something the state has been working toward for over a year,” said Peter McNally, Executive Director of the I-195 Commission. “The Wexford Innovation Center and 170-room hotel on our west-side parcels — 22 and 25 — are a key project in our Innovation and Design District. Together they will house Brown’s School of Professional Studies, CIC and provide much-needed Class A inventory necessary to recruit other corporate or innovation organizations. We anticipate that the construction of this project will overlap with the pedestrian bridge and flagship west-side park. All this activity will represent a proof statement for those companies that are considering relocation to our Innovation and Design District.”

“From the Warren Alpert Medical School to South Street Landing, Brown’s investments in the Jewelry District advance our mission of groundbreaking education and scholarship while also fueling innovation and economic development,” said Brown University President Christina Paxson. “By expanding Brown’s School of Professional Studies, we aim to drive this commitment even further. The school brings a steady stream of global professionals in business, healthcare, science, technology, cybersecurity and more to Providence. Growth in these programs will contribute to a burgeoning knowledge economy and the establishment of a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood that holds promise for being transformative for our city, state and communities.”

Houston Health District in the Works

The Signorelli Company has issued an RFP to more than 50 academic and health systems for proposals on creating what the company is calling the "next-generation, whole-life Healthcare/Life Science Continuum" in a 190-acre health district referred to conceptually as "Vivacity" in the northeast Houston area of Valley Ranch, part of a larger 1,400-acre area being developed under a master plan.

"There are a number of dense healthcare and/or life science centers around the country, but we are not aware of a development solely dedicated to addressing healthcare from an active life to post-recovery," says Tom Wittenberg, executive vice president of Signorelli's healthcare division, in an email. Wittenberg has more than 20 years of development and operational experience in healthcare, life science, institutional and commercial mixed-use assets.


The Vivacity concept proposed by Signorelli for the Valley Ranch area of northeast Houston aims to address every stage of the whole-life healthcare continuum.
Image courtesy of Signorelli Co

"The development is pedestrian-friendly and centered on incorporating preventive wellness through all aspects of our lives," he says. "Overlaying that focus with all of the technological advancements in genetics, robotics, IT and bioscience in one place will make a unique model that hopefully is what the new Healthcare Continuum can look like in the future."

The market for the development is growing, with annual population growth of over 10 percent, average household income of $90,000-plus and 130,000 daily traffic counts due to surrounding the intersection of I-69 & Grand Parkway in Porter, Texas. Those counts will grow when the final leg of the Grand Parkway is completed, linking to the Port of Houston. The infrastructure progress is one reason ExxonMobil moved its global headquarters to a location just down the road near The Woodlands, and HP recently relocated nearby too.

Vivacity Map

The full RFP explains that Vivacity " is about bringing the caregivers to the community in an active, lively, preventative healthcare manner ... Vivacity will make the concept of isolated health campuses with limited amenities and confusing wayfinding to patients a relic of the past. Advances in technology have already changed aspects of the current system, but substantial health outcomes and economic benefits are out of reach due to organizational inflexibility, outdated competitive practices and governmental/insurance coverage related reimbursement. Vivacity is a unique clean-slate opportunity to bring all stakeholders to the table with no preconceived notions as to the structure, make-up, or configuration to create a Whole Life Healthcare Continuum that works for the individual."

Signorelli engaged Stroudwater & Associates to perform a health demand study, and from those results (to be shared in confidentiality with RFP respondents) confirmed current and projected needs. In addition, says the RFP, "we have had tremendous interest from a variety of physician groups, health systems and life science companies in new, expansion and relocated operations."

The Valley Ranch service area has an estimated inpatient volume of over 45,100 discharges, with inpatient volume expected to increase by 3.3 percent in the next five years. Outpatient volumes for all sites of service, currently at over 11.53 million procedures per year, are expected to increase at a much faster rate than inpatient, with projections of 17-percent growth. And hospital-based volumes are projected to grow at 18 percent. Current-year hospital-based procedures in the service area are estimated at over 2.36 million.

Signorelli is pursuing development of an acute-care facility; academic research and education facility; 300,000 sq. ft. of medical office space; a life science and technology incubator; senior living and post-acute facilities; and other facilities that might include hospitality, IT/robotics and logistics centers.

"Complementary to the research being promoted through the academic and healthcare community, on-going discussions with Fortune 500 companies wanting to locate life science, medical device, engineering and health-related IP startups into low-cost research space has been initialized," says the RFP. "Surprisingly, their interest was in being located outside of the Texas Medical Center [in downtown Houston] due to high rent, lost productivity due to traffic congestion, lack of collaboration with resident institutions and the cumbersome manner in which IP is put into commercialized products. Several companies in the pre-commercialization stage have expressed interest in partnering if the right partner institutions are present. Because of the unique location with easy access into the airport, reduced overhead costs and clean-slate opportunity, we are pursuing Life Science Respondents in the Phase Two RFP process for Biomedical, Medical Device, Bio-Agriculture, Genomics, Health IT, Micro Engineering, etc."

That second phase is not anticipated to start until later this coming spring. The RFP response data is February 20, 2017.

Action by Jackson in Greater Atlanta

Jackson Healthcare, one of the nation's largest healthcare staffing firms, this month announced a 306,000-sq.-ft., $100-million expansion of its corporate headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, that will accommodate 1,400 new associates.

The headquarters expansion will include an eight-story office building and a 39,000-sq.-ft. amenities building that will house a gym, indoor pool, and full-service restaurant for associates. It will have room for future childcare accommodations among other conveniences. "The three-story amenities building, inspired by the Roman Colosseum, will be the centerpiece of an Italian piazza for the Jackson headquarters campus," said a company release. "The new project will also include a 1,385-car parking deck designed to resemble the buildings that line the Piazza del Campo in Siena."

Jackson Healthcare
Jackson Healthcare aims to add 1,400 new associates to its current Atlanta-area workforce of just under 900, and make a home for them at this new corporate campus in Alpharetta inspired by the Italian Renaissance — complete with an employee amenities center designed to resemble the Colosseum in Rome.
Image courtesy of Jackson Healthcare

The architect of the Jackson project is Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio, LLC Architecture + Interior Design (RJTR). The general contractor is Choate Construction. The project is expected to take 18 months to complete. "The design challenge of Rick and Shane Jackson was to create a 21st Century workplace within architecture that authentically recalls the Italian Renaissance," said Joe Trammell, project principal for RJTR. "There will be nothing like it, anywhere."

"The quality of service we give our customers is directly related to the quality of the people within our company," said Shane Jackson, president of Jackson Healthcare. "We want them to have a beautiful place to work together."

The services at the amenities building will include a hair salon, dry cleaners, spray-tanning studio, chiropractor, massage, and a barber.

Jackson Healthcare currently employs 1,100 workers across the country, including 898 associates in the Atlanta area. The Jackson Healthcare development is the largest corporate headquarters expansion on the drawing board for North Fulton County.

"Jackson Healthcare is an enormous player in in the workforce in our region," said Brandon Beach, president and CEO of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce. "This project is going to add to the shine of North Fulton as a place to live and work."

Adam Bruns
Managing Editor of Site Selection magazine

Adam Bruns

Adam Bruns has served as managing editor of Site Selection magazine since February 2002. In the course of reporting hundreds of stories for Site Selection, Adam has visited companies and communities around the globe. A St. Louis native who grew up in the Kansas City suburbs, Adam is a 1986 alumnus of Knox College, and resided in Chicago; Midcoast Maine; Savannah, Georgia; and Lexington, Kentucky, before settling in the Greater Atlanta community of Peachtree Corners, where he lives with his wife and daughter.


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