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Research park to add “accelerator” suites

Madison, Wis. - With its first “accelerator building” fully committed, University Research Park in Madison will break ground this spring on a new, 50,000 square foot Accelerator 2 facility.

Accelerator 2, which will be built next to Third Wave Technologies, will help firms that are ready to "graduate" from the MGE Innovation Center, the park's business incubator for start-up technology companies. Suites will range in size from 2,500 to 5,000 square feet, and should be available by the fall of 2007.

"The accelerator facilities are for the transition between an incubator and a full-grown company," said Mark Bugher, director of University Research Park, which still needs to secure a building permit.

The park's 40,000-square-foot Accelerator I building, located on Science Drive, includes tenants like Bellbrook Labs, Nerites Corp., and Cellular Dynamics International and Stem Cell Products, Inc., both co-founded by University of Wisconsin-Madison stem cell researcher James Thomson.

Accelerator II is one of several new buildings that are being added to the campus. They also include a new, 34,000-square-foot facility for the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp., and the home of the Institute for Influenza Viral Research, which will be led by UW-Madison researcher Yoshihiro Kawaoka.
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Campus 2

The park is about ready to present a final plat to the City of Madison for a second, 270-acre campus on the southwest corner of the intersection of Mineral Point and Junction Roads. It could eventually grow the park to more than 200 tenants and add 10,000 employees.

The second campus will feature a new urbanist design that includes 53 office sites, housing, retail, and restaurants. While this approach features more density, it also could help mitigate additional traffic congestion that would result from the park's development. Traffic in the area already is a thorny issue, and likely will be the biggest point of contention with the proposed campus.

According to Bugher, some type of road reconfiguration will be part of the package, and park employers will be asked to promote bike travel and the use of mass transit.

The gradual approach to developing the park - the existing campus opened in 1984 and now is reaching capacity - should help mitigate traffic problems. "We don't want to get ahead of the [real-estate] market," Bugher said.

The existing 255-acre park was established in the early 1980s by the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents to support technology transfer of intellectual capital from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It is now home to 114 companies that employ 4,100 people.

A 2006 study by NorthStar Economics, Inc., a Madison-based private consulting and research firm, said research park companies contribute more than $680 million annually to the state's economy and generate $46 million annually in state and local tax revenue.

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