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Alexandria to build $13.5M agricultural research center near RTP


[Source: Triangle Business Journal]

Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. announced plans on Tuesday to build a $13.5 million, 50,000-square-foot agricultural research center near Research Triangle Park that would include 18,000 square feet of greenhouse space.

The center, which will be located at the intersection of Capitola Drive and Alston Avenue in Durham and will essentially provide incubator space to agricultural-biotech companies, will be called North Carolina’s Alexandria Ag-Tech Center and be solely developed and managed by Alexandria (NYSE: ARE), the life sciences real estate investment trust headquartered in Pasadena, Calif.

Gov. Beverly Perdue and Oliver Sherrill, vice president and regional market director of Alexandria, were in attendance Tuesday afternoon for the announcement in the N.C. Biotechnology Center.

“The Alexandria Ag-Tech Center will provide ag-biotechnology companies with unprecedented access to state-of-the-art greenhouse facilities for research, accelerating their growth, and further strengthening North Carolina’s position as a leader in ag biotechnology,” Sherrill said.

Completion is planned for summer 2012.

The center will provide individual greenhouse modules and support areas along with shared amenities, according to Alexandria. Each greenhouse will have separate environmental controls, planting and support spaces.

Alexandria also is currently building Medicago USA’s greenhouse facility for vaccine production in RTP and reportedly is in talks with the Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences to build a proposed 1 million-square-foot expansion.

Amber Shirley, director of biotechnology crops development at the Biotech Center, said the new center is a significant addition to the Triangle’s greenhouse space.

“Duke and N.C. State have very limited greenhouse space that are completely utilized at this moment,” Shirley said, who added that the universities’ combined greenhouse space is less than 10,000 square feet.