Facility to convert 14,000 square feet of space to new specialized lab space
University Enterprise Laboratories (UEL) took a dramatic step in its continuing effort to improve its offerings to the scientific community when it launched the most significant construction project since the initial build-out of the facility.
More than a year in the making, UEL in October began the conversion of 14,000 square feet of space, UEL’s most into four “dry labs,” two new “wet labs” and two offices. The space–formerly occupied by Cima NanoTech, UEL’s most recent “graduate,” and Ativa Medical, which recently reconfigured its space—will be configured using a modular design, giving the facility the flexibility to adjust to prospective tenants’ needs.
“We’re really excited to get this project off the ground,” said Todd Taylor, chairman of UEL’s all-volunteer board of directors. “Our facility is in excellent shape financially, and we are pleased to be able offer space that will further broaden our appeal to new and early stage life science companies. These new labs will be less expensive than a fully-vented wet lab, offering yet another cost-effective option for companies seeking the sort of highly specialized space needed to pursue cutting-edge science and the business opportunities it represents.”
Until this project, the majority of the scientific spaces at UEL have been wet lab facilities, defined as laboratories with running water, specialized plumbing, lab benches and a direct vent chemical fume hood that allows for work with chemicals, drugs, or other material or biological matter. In contrast, a dry lab features all the components of a wet lab except the chemical fume hood. The project brings to seven the number of dry labs at the facility.
The contractor managing the build-out is Minneapolis-based Server Construction Co., under the supervision of LaSalle Management. Work is expected to be completed by January of 2016, with tenant occupancy expected shortly after.
“We believe we’ll have strong demand for these spaces,” said Tom LaSalle, president of the LaSalle Group, the building’s management company. “There’s not a lot of commercial-grade lab space in the Twin Cities. UEL has been running at or near capacity for several years now, and based on the ongoing interest we have in the building, we think the demand for even more space is clearly there.”