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Plant Science Center breaks ground on new building

By Julie Bierach, KWMU

SAINT LOUIS, MO – A ground breaking ceremony was held Tuesday on the first of three new buildings at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

The new research park will be called the Bio-Research and Development Growth Park at the Danforth Center, and will support the needs of start-up life science companies.

At a cost of $36 million, the first building in the research park will be the home to more than six companies. All three buildings will contain laboratory and office space.

Mark Korczakowski, Vice president of Wexford Science and Technology, the company building the facility, says there's an increasing demand for wet lab space.

"Bottom line, there needs to be somewhere for companies coming out of, whether it's Nidus or the Plant Science Center, to grow in order to stay in the area," said Korczakowski. "So we fill that gap."

The state of Missouri is supporting the project through a contribution of a million dollars in state tax credits and St. Louis County is providing tax abatements.

"Lab space is inherently expensive to build and having subsidies for the tenants help maintain a rent that is more affordable."

The first building should be completed by April 2009.

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