Research land swapped

By Mika Mandelbaum
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, June 8, 2005

The Arizona Board of Regents recently approved a land swap between the UA and KB Home, which will result in the development of many new homes, several retail stores and a one-of-a-kind pharmaceutical research facility.

In the swap, the UA agreed to exchange 124 acres from its Science and Technology Park, 9000 S. Rita Rd., for 53.5 acres at South Kino Parkway and East 36th Street, according to Marshall Worden, senior officer for policy and strategic initiatives at the UA office for economic development.

The 124-acre parcel is valued at $12.4 million, while the 53.5-acre parcel the UA gained from the swap is valued at only $8.7 million. The UA may have given up quantity, but gained more in the quality value of the land, which comes from its location in the middle of town and its proximity to the university, Worden said.

KB Home agreed to spend $3.4 million of the value difference on building a 9,000-foot, four-lane divided roadway from North Kolb Road into the Science and Technology Park. They will also use the money toward landscaping and underground infrastructures including a sewage system, Worden said.

In the end, there will be a remaining $268,587 the UA will receive, Worden said.

The UA will use the 53.5 acres to develop its new bioscience and biotechnology research park, while KB Home will use its new land for residential development.

"The university is extraordinarily pleased that this is taking place because it really helps advance our research and our work at the UA Science and Technology Park," Worden said.

The new UA research park will facilitate the Critical Path to Accelerate Therapies Institute (C-Path), a nonprofit drug-development corporation created by UA faculty in conjunction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and SRI International.

C-Path seeks to speed the development of new medicines and to work with the FDA to address the problems in drug development, said Ray Woosley, C-Path president.

"We will bring in scientists who will want to be housed around this institute so they can learn the new ways to test drugs," Woosley said. "We believe that being so novel and addressing a problem that just isn't being addressed anywhere else, will bring other pharmaceutical companies here."

The land acquired in the swap is easily accessible to the south of the UA, Tucson International Airport to the south and the UA Physicians Hospital at Kino. The location also leaves room for expansion and industrial growth.

"It's a key location in those regards," Worden said.

The 53.5 acres at Kino Road and 36th Street are part of a 350-acre parcel, the remainder of which will be used for residential and commercial development.

KB Home and Lennar/US Home jointly purchased 128 acres in the area on June 1, where the companies plan to develop more homes.

Also on June 1, Eastbourne Investments Ltd. purchased 124 acres where it plans to develop retail stores, restaurants and possibly a hotel, Worden said.

Though plans have been discussed, nothing official has been submitted about when construction will begin, according to City Planning Director Albert Elias.