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UA to break ground on first tech-focused building at south-side tech park
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UA to break ground on first tech-focused building at south-side tech park

The University of Arizona says it will lease half the space in this new, four-story, 120,000-square-foot building at The Bridges, a mixed-use development north of Interstate 10 between South Park Avenue and South Kino Parkway.

More than a decade after dirt was first turned at the University of Arizona’s second technology business park on Tucson’s south side, officials will break ground on the first tech-oriented building there — a new a hub for UA-related tech development.

A public groundbreaking ceremony is set for Feb. 27 for the new, four-story building at The Bridges, a mixed-use development north of Interstate 10 between South Park Avenue and South Kino Parkway.

The Boyer Co. will build and own the 120,000-square foot building, and the UA will lease half that space under two leases approved Friday by the Arizona Board of Regents. Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2021.

Under a 10-year lease, 45,000 square feet of space in the new building will house the offices for Tech Launch Arizona — the university’s technology commercialization arm — and the UA Center for Innovation business incubator and its client startups.

The space also will feature corporate innovation centers, a student innovation zone, and convertible meeting, event, classroom and maker spaces, the UA said.

Under a 20-year sublease, 15,000 square feet will be leased to the UA Applied Research Corp., a nonprofit corporation set up to partner on defense-related research. The UA has the option to extend both leases for two five-year periods.

Campus Research Corp., a private entity created to manage UA properties, has entered into a development agreement and ground lease with Boyer, which will own and pay taxes on the building.

The UA said the new building will form a central hub for innovation and commercialization, and it will be named “Refinery” because of its “proximity to the talent and bright minds that can be mined from the University of Arizona.”

Refinery will be the first building of the UA Tech Park at The Bridges, a 65-acre precinct within the larger 350-acre mixed-use development. Long-term plans include four to five office and lab buildings for public, private and academic users.

Infrastructure work on what was then known as the UA Bio Park at The Bridges began in 2009, and a retail development, The Marketplace at The Bridges, was built out starting in 2012 with a Walmart Supercenter, a movie theater and restaurants.

But the UA’s plans for a biotech business park never materialized and the university dropped the biotech focus for a wider technology approach in 2014.

The UA later proposed a $40 million first-phase technology office building to anchor a “technology precinct” at The Bridges, with Pima County on board to fund half of the building’s construction cost through a bond measure.

After the county’s plan failed as part of a larger bond package rejected by voters in 2015, the UA sought private development partners for the property.

The UA announced Boyer as its development partner for the technology zone at The Bridges in March 2018.

Last year, insurance giant Geico opened a regional headquarters in a 200,000-square-foot building at The Bridges built by The Bourn Cos., another UA development partner.

Contact senior reporter David Wichner at dwichner@tucson.com or 573-4181.

On Twitter: @dwichner.

On Facebook: Facebook.com/DailyStarBiz

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