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Wayne State Breaking Ground On $93M Biotech Building

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Wayne State Multidisciplinary Biomedical Resaerch Building
(credit: istock) Technology Report
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DETROIT — Wayne State University will celebrate the groundbreaking for the Multidisciplinary Biomedical Research Building at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 at 6187 Woodward Avenue.

The MBRB will be the university’s newest research facility and its largest-ever construction project. The building will encourage interdisciplinary work across a range of scientific areas with the goal of translating new discoveries to improve human health and society.

“The MBRB is about everything we want to be as a research university, with key strengths in the health sciences and a commitment to the community,” said Wayne State University President Allan Gilmour. “It’s about discovery, it’s about teaching, and it’s about economic growth.”

A $93 million project, the building will feature nearly 200,000 square feet of space for about 500 researchers and staff and 68 principal investigators. It will include wet and dry laboratories, faculty offices and common areas, as well as clinical space.

Faculty members from across the university will populate the MBRB. The School of Medicine, the College of Engineering, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Social Work, and the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences will conduct research at the facility. Ninety-three percent of the structure will be occupied by Wayne State University, with the remaining 7 percent housing partners from the Henry Ford Health System, including its bone and joint research program and biomechanics motion laboratory.

It will be Wayne State’s first new biomedical research facility since the opening of the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences building in 2002 and the first since 1998 with accommodations for researchers from the School of Medicine.

Research in the MBRB will be arranged into thematic areas — cardiovascular disease; metabolic disorders such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity; systems biology; biomedical engineering; bioinformatics and computational biology; and translational behavioral science.

The development of the MBRB will include the reconstruction of the Dalgleish Cadillac building on Cass Avenue, a historic Detroit structure designed by renowned architect Albert Kahn. A new 70,000-square-foot addition facing Woodward Avenue will be a companion to the Kahn building.

Wayne State University has commissioned the architecture firm Harley Ellis Devereaux, which also designed the university’s A. Paul Schaap Chemistry Building. The contractor is Barton Malow.

To construct the MBRB, Wayne State University will employ a combination of state support, university funding and private investment. The state of Michigan will provide $30 million for the construction of the building as a part of its capital outlay for colleges and universities. Philanthropy will play an equally important role.

“Over the years, we are fortunate to have had alumni and friends who contributed to the university’s most ambitious projects,” Gilmour said. “As we build the MBRB, we will look to our supporters to embrace our vision for the future as a major research institution dedicated to improving human health through innovative scientific discovery.”

The new MBRB will redevelop 2.75 acres on Woodward Avenue that is currently vacant real estate. Revitalizing this section of Midtown will contribute to the growing strength of the neighborhood and the importance of Wayne State’s presence within the community. Once fully operational in early 2015, the MBRB will create both temporary and permanent jobs, and estimates show that it will result in about $40 million in new earnings annually in Michigan, 98 percent of which will be in metropolitan Detroit.

The site is near TechTown, Wayne State’s business incubator, strengthening the university’s ultimate vision for the MBRB, which is to move groundbreaking discoveries from the laboratory into practice.

The MBRB will be designed in accordance with the United States Green Building Council’s 2009 LEED Standards for New Construction and Major Renovations. The goal for the MBRB project is to receive a LEED silver rating.

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