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Phoenix to Get Multimillion-Dollar Biomedical-Data Project

Thursday, June 23, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rhette Baughman
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Phoenix to Get Multimillion-Dollar Biomedical-Data Project

by Lynh Bui - Jun. 23, 2011
The Arizona Republic


The Barrister Place Building downtown and the Phoenix Sky Harbor Center will become the home of a multimillion-dollar data center and bioscience hub that will link disjointed sectors of the health-care industry to more efficiently care for patients and develop medical breakthroughs.


The Phoenix City Council on Wednesday struck a deal with an organization headed by health-care visionary Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong to bring the supercomputer project to Phoenix.


Soon-Shiong's Institute for Advanced Health will lease the city-owned properties and invest $205 million to develop a high-capacity, high-powered bioscience data center. The effort is expected to produce 125 jobs at the outset.


The Phoenix hub is the first of what could be many centers for the Institute for Advanced Health across the country.


The project is the latest for California billionaire Soon-Shiong, who aims to turn the Institute for Advanced Health into a central database of patient information and biomedical data that researchers and hospitals can access with the goal of shrinking the time it takes to get medical discoveries from a lab to a patient's bedside.

"Phoenix is the center of gravity for all of this," said Bob Peirce, an adviser to Soon-Shiong.


The data center at Phoenix Sky Harbor Center will be built on 14 acres of land at 16th Street and Buckeye Road.


It is expected to create at least 50 long-term jobs with an average annual wage of $75,000 upon opening.


The developer must complete construction within two years, according to terms of the lease agreement. The agreement calls for a 65-year lease at initial rate of 60 cents per square foot of land, the price of which escalates 3 percent annually. Phoenix expects income of about $365,900 in the first year of the lease.


The renovation of the Barrister Place Building at Central Avenue and Jefferson Street is expected to be completed much sooner and is expected to be the Phoenix headquarters for the Institute of Advanced Health.


Construction is expected to begin within the next six months and finish within one year.


The Barrister project is expected to bring at least 75 jobs upon opening, also with an average annual wage of $75,000.The Institute for Advanced Health will lease 32,000 square feet in the Barrister Place Building at a rate of $19 per square foot, the price of which will escalate 2 percent annually.


IAH is expected to invest at least $5 million in renovations and other improvements. The first year of income from the Barrister Place Building lease will be about $608,000.


Revenues generated from both leases will go in either the Aviation Fund or be deposited into the Downtown Community Reinvestment Fund, according to reports from city staff.


The Barrister Place Building is at 101 S. Central Ave. and is formerly the Jefferson Hotel, where film director Alfred Hitchcock shot scenes for his 1960 thriller "Psycho."


City Councilman Michael Nowakowski said the projects could mean 1,000 new construction jobs in the short term.


"It's these types of projects that are going to help put Phoenix on the map," Nowakowski said.


Mayor Phil Gordon said at his State of the City address, when he announced the Institute of Advanced Health's arrival, that he expects Soon-Shiong's project to attract even more jobs as the project grows downtown's bioscience industry, currently anchored by the Translational Genomics Research Institute and the International Genomics Consortium.


"This looks like a great opportunity for the city of Phoenix," Gordon said Wednesday.

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