$45 million project designed for Discovery Ridge Research Park

Monday, June 27, 2011 | 8:57 p.m. CDT; updated 10:20 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, June 28, 2011
An artist's rendering of the Discovery Ridge Research Park expansion that could begin early next year.

COLUMBIA — The first of a three-phase, $45 million project at Discovery Ridge Research Park could break ground early next year, according to Rick Baier, a principal with CarrBaierCrandall Real Estate Group.

It was announced Monday that the Kansas City-based firm was chosen by the UM Board of Curators to design, construct and market the 80,000-square-foot building to prospective tenants.


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Baier estimated that the first building would cost the company around $15 million to $20 million. Once the first phase of infrastructure is in place, he said, they can go on to develop the next two.

“We’ve designed a site layout that has three buildings on it right now, totaling around 225,000 square feet and in the $45 million range,” he said.

Meanwhile, the university will recoup some of the internal debt it incurred when the park was originally developed. Greg Williams, UM’s director of research parks, said CBC will be leasing the ground for $2.30 per square foot and will generate funds for the university throughout the 55-year ground lease. 

More importantly, system administrators hope the facility will spark interest in high-tech businesses that are poised to collaborate with and enhance the university’s research and development arms.  

“We will market primarily to tech-oriented, research-oriented, private-sector firms, as well as to university researchers who are prepared to take a product to market,” Williams said. “The park's protective covenants and restrictions are intended to protect the integrity of the development, and our audience must be high-end users who have a close relationship with MU."

Williams said that although some companies have already expressed interest, it’s difficult to predict how many will be housed in the mixed-use, lab and office facility.

The developers will not break ground until companies agree to lease at least 60 percent of the space.

“It could take a month, a year; we don't know,” Williams said. “But it's likely construction won't occur until at least early 2012.”

Williams said CBC was selected because of the group’s reputation for working on successful life sciences and real estate projects and its support from a partnership with real estate firm CB Richard Ellis.

“It was all just a tremendous fit,” Williams said. “They really understand how to bring a project of this magnitude to market.”

Plus, Williams said, the architect’s rendering impressed members of the selection committee. “It’s a very special property, one that will set a new standard for commercial real estate in central Missouri."

Baier describes the glass-encased centerpiece as “techy looking” and said the prospective companies were the key driver in the design.

He said CBC had been working on another building for the university when he heard about the project and was attracted by the success of other universities that have expanded into life sciences.

“It just so happens this is Columbia’s first opportunity to do something like this,” Baier said. “We’d like to think it will lease up pretty quickly.”

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Paul Allaire June 28, 2011 | 9:05 a.m.

Not that I care that much anymore, but that is much better than a deathlab.

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