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Eastside tech park to expand with hotel, golf course, offices

By Laura Malamud
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday December 6, 2002

The UA plans to quadruple the size of its Science and Technology Park southeast of Tucson, making room for more laboratory and manufacturing buildings and providing jobs for 6,200 more people within eight years.

The research and development park now employs more than 6,200 workers and is home to 30 high-tech companies on South Rita Road near I-10.

A new 72,000 square foot office building is under construction and is projected to be ready for occupancy early next year, said Molly Gilbert, interim director of marketing for the technology park.

Plans to build a $15 million to $20 million hotel with private funds and, possibly, an 18- or 27-hole golf course on the park's 1,345 acres were also released Wednesday.

The hotel will provide restaurants and meeting rooms for those visiting the park.

"We would like to provide something that is closer (than the Tucson International Airport) and is of an executive class," Gilbert said.

She estimates about 70 of the people who visit the park each day could use a hotel room.

A developer should be selected by May and construction on the hotel is scheduled to start in January 2004 and take two to three years, said Bruce Wright, the park's chief operating officer.

The technology park, was purchased from IBM by the Arizona Board of Regents in August 1994. The park opened in December 1994.

About one quarter of the land in the park or 345 acres has been developed for research and corporate use.

"Part of our mission is to provide space for new companies who come into the area or our own tenant companies that need new space," Gilbert said.

The companies in the park range from small technology firms to large corporations like IBM and Raytheon. The park generated $1.9 billion for the Tucson and Pima County economy during the 2000-2001 year, Gilbert said.

The park is owned by the university and funded by various partners. The partnership between the UA and the park helps to provide space for faculty interested in starting their own companies, like Nasser Peyghambarian, an optical scientist who started a company at the park dubbed "NP Photonics."

The park also presents opportunities for student internships.

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