DED designates University’s Discovery Ridge research park as third Certified Site in Columbia
John Fougere, (573) 522-5058
COLUMBIA – The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) has announced that a Columbia location has been designated as the state’s 10th Certified Site – the third site in the city of Columbia to receive that status. Chosen by DED’s Certified Sites Technical Review Committee, the Discovery Ridge 122-acre land site located east of US Highway 63 at the U.S. 63 and Discovery Parkway interchange in Columbia will provide the city and Boone County with a competitive advantage in attracting 21st century jobs.
The property, a research park owned by the University of Missouri System, is considered ‘development ready’ with road access, a full range of utility-supporting infrastructure available and already-completed geo-technical testing and environmental compliance inspections. The Discovery Ridge site is part of a contiguous 550-acre area to be developed in future phases. Existing Discovery Ridge research companies include ABC Labs and RADIL, MU’s research animal diagnostic laboratory.
Officials have recently announced private project development, financing and construction of a new 80,000-square-foot research facility building on the site.
“Under the leadership of Gov. Nixon, we continue to work diligently to devise strategies for creating jobs and growing our economy,” DED Director David Kerr said. “The Certified Site selection process, with its stringent technical review and validation of site resources and amenities, will ensure that these sites are competitively positioned to create hundreds of new jobs in their local areas which will positively impact our statewide economy.”
According to Greg Williams, University of Missouri System director of research parks, it is estimated that all future tenants of Discovery Ridge could have a regional impact of $3.5 billion and support 90,000 jobs in the Discovery Ridge park area.
“The process of attaining certified site status for Discovery Ridge has made this property immediately available for development,” he said. “For site location consultants, real estate brokers and prospective park tenants, this is particularly good news--because now Discovery Ridge, unlike many other research parks, has virtually no hurdles or development-related challenges to overcome. We’re working expeditiously with our allied partners at REDI, CORE, the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Missouri Partnership to advance investment in new businesses and wealth creation at Discovery Ridge.”
As the state’s 10th Certified Site, the Discovery Ridge site joins two other Columbia sites plus Missouri Certified Sites in Kansas City, Springfield, Kearney, Fulton, Moberly, Union and Washington.
The Certified Site Program was developed through a cooperative effort with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Economic Development Council, Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, Empire Electric, Kansas City Power and Light, the Ameren Corporation and DED. The program’s purpose is to provide consistent standards regarding the availability and development potential of commercial and industrial development sites. Site pre-qualification through the Certified Site process provides a standardized tool by which both development professionals and business prospects can review prospective sites for compatibility with their development needs. The certification of a site is performed through a comprehensive review of many of the issues facing businesses and corporations as they search for areas to relocate or expand, including the availability of utilities, site access, environmental concerns, land use conformance, and potential development costs.
A review team consisting of up to 10 economic development professionals, including utility and certified community/economic development practitioners, is responsible for reviewing and approving Certified Site Program applications. Certified sites must be at least 10 acres or more in size; be marketed primarily by the community and local economic development organization for business recruitment or business expansion; and contain at a minimum water, sewer, and electric infrastructure at the site.