By Tom Leyde
A few shovels full of dirt set in motion a major new project at the University of Arizona’s Tech Park at The Bridges in South Tucson this February.
The first multitenant building at the Tech Park at The Bridges, expected to be completed by summer 2021, sets off a wave of possibilities in technological innovation and adjacent development at The Bridges.
“I see this new park as another catalyst and driver for university-based economic development, a place where new ideas are incubated and businesses are formed, a place where university innovation can move at the speed of business,” said Carol Stewart, associate VP for Tech Parks Arizona.
Named The Refinery, the joint project between Tech Parks Arizona and The Boyer Company will be a four-story, 120,000-square-foot building with offices for both academic and private users, including the new offices for Tech Launch Arizona, which commercializes inventions resulting from research at UArizona. Half of the space is committed for commercialization and innovation activities for the University of Arizona.
The University of Arizona Tech Park at The Bridges is a 65-acre community of innovation that is part of a 350-acre master plan. The Bridges is north of Interstate-10 and bordered by Kino Parkway to the east, 36th Street to the north and the Union Pacific Railroad to the west.
“This is just the beginning,” UArizona President Robert C. Robbins said of the new building at the groundbreaking. “Great things are happening here on the south side.”
Robbins foresees dynamic infrastructure being put in place such as the extension of the streetcar line and Cat Tran shuttle services to make connections flow, removing any potential barriers to connectivity between the two campuses.
“This is an incredible place with incredible people,” he said. “We’re going to do great things here. … This is a monumental day.
“This is going to be a catalyst that helps put us on the map and make the world a better place.”
The building’s name, The Refinery, was chosen because of its proximity to the talent and bright minds that can be mined at UArizona, which serves as a workforce pipeline to companies located here.
“If you want a high producing refinery, you build close to the mine,” said building developer Matt Jensen, a partner in The Boyer Company, which is based in Salt Lake City and has an office in Phoenix. The company has been in business for nearly 50 years, completed multiple university-related research park developments and has an established relationship with UArizona.
Swaim Associates designed the building. Construction is expected to begin in May and local Tucson contractor CORE Construction has been selected as the general contractor for the project.
The Refinery is part of the 20-acre Technology Zone of the Tech Park at The Bridges, one of four zones in the park’s master plan. The three others are University, Business and Corporate zones. All four zones will allow medium and large technology firms to leverage research resources by partnering with UArizona.
The Bridges includes Tucson Marketplace at The Bridges, at 1260 E. Tucson Marketplace. The shopping center has 17 stores and businesses, including Costco, Walmart, Cinemark Theaters and First Convenience Bank.
An additional second project announcement was made – a four-story Marriott-branded, 100-room hotel will be built at the corner of Kino Parkway and Tucson Marketplace Boulevard. The hotel, a joint deal between HSL Properties and Tech Parks Arizona, is expected to break ground the summer of 2020, as well.