[caption id="attachment_231936" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] South Duvall, a Maryland-based developer, plans to build this 100,000-square-foot lab building at Delaware Technology Park in Newark. | PHOTO COURTESY OF SOUTH DUVALL[/caption]
NEWARK – The Delaware Technology Park (DTP) has partnered with a Maryland-based developer to build a new Class A laboratory at its campus near the University of Delaware.South Duvall, a developer that specializes in the life sciences industry, has signed an extended ground lease with the University of Delaware for about 7 acres in the DTP campus located off Wyoming Road. The firm aims to build a new three-story, 100,000-square-foot lab building that would be home to multiple growing tenants.“That has been a treasured site for our board and management for a long time,” DTP President and CEO Mike Bowman told Delaware Business Times, noting that some prior proposals never quite got off the ground.Bowman first connected with Robert Scheer, the president of South Duvall and a life science real estate industry veteran, years ago about the opportunity. They recently reconnected and re-examined the opportunity.Working with the state’s private-public economic development organization, the Delaware Prosperity Partnership, Bowman said that South Duvall sought to do a due diligence study of the local competition in the market. It was a quick task.“The real estate people on Scheer’s side wanted to check all the available [lab] inventory and of course DPP said, ‘There isn’t any. We don't need to do a study,’” Bowman recalled with a laugh.The pedigree of Scheer’s work, which includes developing projects from Philadelphia to the D.C. market, and representing Alexandria Real Estate Equities, one of the largest Class A laboratory landlords in the country, has Bowman excited.Scheer, who didn’t respond to a request for comment, reportedly valued the DTP site because of its proximity to the University of Delaware and its elite engineering program.“We are excited to play a role in the next stage of the Delaware Technology Park’s growth. An impressive ecosystem has been built in Newark and this building will foster continued growth in Delaware’s life science community,” Scheer said in a statement released by the university.The project is still in the early stages of design and tenant prospecting, according to Bowman, but he imagines that more than three tenants would eventually occupy the building. He isn’t viewing the project as an incubator space, such as the Delaware Innovation Space at the DuPont Experimental Station, but said it is still possible to go that route.“We hope [the lab] not only scales the companies around us, but also that we might attract new ones,” he said, noting that they expect to give local companies a head start on leasing the space before pitching around the region.A cost estimate for the project has yet to be completed, but Bowman said that it would likely be upward of $40 million or more. South Duvall expects to bring in the first of its tenants at some point in 2025.DTP is home to more than 50 tenants, ranging from multinational corporations like QPS to manufacturers like Sepax Technologies to a number of smaller startups, that occupy five buildings at the research park just east of UD’s campus. The organization also operates a laboratory extension called DTP@STAR and the new FinTech Innovation Hub, both on UD’s STAR Campus.The development of the final vacant lot at DTP’s original 40-acre campus will mark a milestone for the nonprofit established 30 years ago after a Castle administration task force recommendation to spur more innovation in the state. Bowman said it likely would close a chapter of the project that the staff can be proud of, but he didn’t think it would be the end of DTP.“I think the model is still very important and it can be at STAR Campus, or it can be somewhere else. DTP doesn't have to be land bound. It has ambition more than land itself,” he said.
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