By Anthony D. Ávila
CHRIS CODUTO / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tucson Councilwoman Shirley Scott and Mayor Bob Walkup cut the ribbon for a building at the UA Science and Technology Park yesterday afternoon.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, February 3, 2005
The UA Science and Technology Park is looking to acquire land south of campus to build new bioscience research facilities.
Before taking hold of the property, the UA wants to exchange some of the 1,345 acres of undeveloped land at the UA Science and Technology Park for the Sinclair property.
The Sinclair property, at East 36th Street and South Kino Parkway, covers 350 acres of land that could be used for UA facilities, said Bruce Wright, assistant vice president of economic affairs.
KB Home does not currently own the Sinclair property, but John Bremond, KB Home Tucson division president, said the deal has great potential.
"We do not own it, and it is too early to predict any plans for the future of this site," Bremond said. "Sinclair property is among many locations we are looking at in Tucson."
If the deal goes through, Wright said KB Home will build houses on the unused land at the technology park near the business offices and will house the 6,500 employees who already work there.
Although some staff are from the UA, most are employed by the 25 businesses that lease the park from the Arizona Board of Regents, Wright said.
Since the UA has land to exchange, there will be no immediate expense if the agreement goes through, said Joel Valdez, UA senior vice president of business affairs.
"The exchange will be value for value, dollar for dollar," Valdez said.
Valdez said the UA would hopefully present a specific plan to be approved by the regents in March.
"This is something we'd like to see happen in the next couple of years," Valdez said.
Wright said the new site, which is about 12 miles closer to the UA, will be easier for graduate students and pharmacists to work in because they need to stay close to campus.
The UA worked with KB Home in 2000 when the real estate company bought Christopher City, a UA graduate housing complex at East Fort Lowell Road and North Columbus Boulevard in 2000, Wright said.
"We have had success in negotiating with (KB Home) in the past," Wright said.
Wright said that if approved, one of the first projects to be moved into the new location is the Critical Path to Accelerate Therapies Institute, a partnership with the UA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and technology development firm SRI International.
"Tucson is one of the leading cities in the world of this type of research development in bioscience technology, and this would allow us to have outstanding facilities for that research," Wright said.
Wright said that many departments would benefit from the new site, such as the College of Medicine and the College of Pharmacy because of their interest in bioscience technology.
Last week, Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup said the business brought by the new site would benefit downtown development group Rio Nuevo's goal to bring business closer to downtown.