University of Arizona’s Tech Parks Arizona Celebrates 30 Years

Tech Parks Arizona is commemorating its 30-year anniversary, marking three decades of advancing technology, economic prosperity, and community development. 

Through purpose-built environments, Tech Parks Arizona supports companies of all sizes and facilitates university-industry interaction moving at the speed of business.

In an ever-evolving market, Tech Parks Arizona fosters an environment where businesses can quickly pivot, expand and succeed. Strategically built over the years, the UA Tech Park has evolved into a thriving research and development campus in addition to a major employment hub, boasting over 100 companies and 6,000 knowledge workers. Since its inception, the UA Tech Park has played a pivotal role in building the Southern Arizona economy contributing a staggering $2 billion annually by attracting new businesses, growing established organizations and launching new companies, all which provide high-wage jobs. From tech giants to startups, the park is home to corporations in a variety of industries and include IBM, Raytheon, Applied Energetics, Eurofins CellTx, Dimensional Energy, Copperhead Aeronautics, NP Photonics and the University of Arizona Steward Observatory. The purpose-built collaborative environment generates an estimated $52.8 million in tax revenues for the state, county, and city governments. 

Several park tenants are also celebrating significant milestones of their establishment within the UA Tech Park.  

  • Citi – 20 years 
  • Critical Systems Inc – one year 
  • Darling Geomatics – 15 years 
  • Eurofins/CellTx – one year 
  • IBM – 45 years 
  • Raytheon – 31 years 
  • University of Arizona Steward Observatory – 5 years

A hallmark of the UA Tech Park is its commitment to innovation through customized business support. Companies that locate in the park are connected to a world-class team that is invested in their success. Business assistance spans the spectrum from launching a business to facilities coordination. This allows tenants to focus on business while all their infrastructure and auxiliary needs are met. Business support combined with the unique mix of office, lab, and R&D space provides the perfect platform for businesses to scale rapidly based on business demands while benefiting from the well-established university research park. For instance, the specialized facilities created the ideal environment to develop the Solar Zone at UA Tech Park. The 225-acre living laboratory allows multiple solar technology to be tested and evaluated, side-by-side under identical operating conditions allowing developers to determine which systems are most efficient and economical.  

In 2003, Tech Parks Arizona established the University of Arizona Center for Innovation, the science and tech business incubator network headquartered at the UA Tech Park, providing resources to accelerate inventions and scale business operations. UACI supports startups through specialized facilities, and robust programing. UACI not only celebrated the achievement of 20 years of success but has become a regional leader in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. UACI has long served Arizona’s strong and vibrant community of innovators and experienced remarkable upward growth over the past few years, attracting an increasing number of clients helping between 70-80 startups engaged in the program at any given time. 

Building on the success of the flagship UA Tech Park, vertical development began in 2020 on a new park, UA Tech Park at The Bridges; a 65-acre community of innovation within a larger 350-acre mixed-use development project just north of Interstate 10, bordered by Kino Parkway. UA Tech Park at The Bridges is strategically located 3.5 miles south of the main University of Arizona campus with transportation to and from campuses through Cat Tran.

The first building in the UA Tech Park at The Bridges opened in early 2022 with development partner The Boyer Company. The building’s name, The Refinery, emphasizes its proximity to the talent and sharp minds that can be mined from the University of Arizona. This unique opportunity allows leading-edge technology companies to recruit the best and brightest, which in turn provides graduates with engaging employment and students with hands-on internships. The Refinery, a four-story building, provides 120,000 square feet of office space for small-to-midsize tech-focused businesses and organizations that want to co-locate with the University of Arizona expertise. Tenants have converged to the strategic location including University of Arizona Applied Research Corp., Tech Launch Arizona, University of Arizona’s Office of Research, Innovation and Impact (innovation space for students, faculty, and community), University of Arizona Online and Distance Education and most recently Raytheon. 

Progress advanced in the UA Tech Park at The Bridges in December 2022 with the grand opening of the Mission Integration Lab which accommodates balloon-borne astronomy testing and development. The building comprises a tall, hangar-like “high bay,” where researchers and students can work on instruments, telescopes and high-altitude technology making the university even more competitive for top-dollar research missions such as NASA’s Long Duration Balloon flight missions. In March 2023, the 110-bed Marriott Springhill Suites opened at UA Tech Park at The Bridges just a short drive away from the University of Arizona Main Campus, Downtown Tucson and the Tucson International Airport. Tech Parks Arizona continues to work with the community to create a future-focused environment for technology to thrive. Currently, Arizona Public Media is developing a transformative media facility at the UA Tech Park at The Bridges.

As Tech Parks Arizona enters a new era of growth, development plans include expanding commercial, residential and hospitality offerings at the flagship UA Tech Park off Rita and exploring the development of a third park aligned with UArizona’s research strengths. Sustainability will continue to be a top priority for future-focused development and expansion initiatives. Building upon the success of the Solar Zone at UA Tech Park, Phase 2 expansion will provide opportunities for new tech to be tested and developed as part of one of the largest multi-technology solar demonstration sites at the grid level in the United States.

“We are incredibly proud to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the UA Tech Park. This is a testament to the vision, dedication, and collaborative efforts of our tenants, partners, and the community,” said Carol Stewart, VP of Tech Parks Arizona. “Persistence, resourcefulness, and unwavering support have been instrumental in developing our legacy of excellence and we look forward to new opportunities to build the future.”

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