USC, SCRA break ground on Innovation Center
The University of South Carolina, the City of Columbia and the South Carolina Research Authority broke ground Friday (Feb. 12) for the SCRA USC Innovation Center on Catawba Street.
Slated to open its doors this June, the facility will house knowledge-based and light-manufacturing companies emerging from research at the university and in the marketplace. The center will be an intermediate step for companies before they move into their own facilities and commercialize their research.
The facility is situated and designed to stimulate and sustain clean, next-generation manufacturing, along with related development and support services.
The SCRA USC Innovation Center is the second of three world-class facilities that SCRA is providing in conjunction with its university and civic partners in South Carolina to grow the Knowledge Economy. With these Centers, SCRA is fulfilling legislative mandates identified in the Innovation Centers Act focused on the commercialization of new knowledge-based discoveries. Since SCRA is self-supporting, the facilities are being funded through SCRA’s retained earnings and balance sheet, and no South Carolina state taxpayer monies are being used to provide the facilities.
“This is a great step forward for Columbia entering the knowledge economy,” said City of Columbia Mayor Bob Coble.
“The Innovation Center is a major part of the Innovista vision for a vibrant, knowledge-based community,” said Don Herriott, director of Innovista Partnerships. “I look forward to the day when talented entrepreneurs who have the drive to build their businesses and create good jobs in the Midlands will fill the center with creative ideas and innovative products. Today is an important milestone and a tribute to SCRA and to the leaders in the General Assembly who crafted and supported the Innovation Centers Act.”
“We’re excited to be here at the Groundbreaking today as the first tenant of the SCRA USC Innovation Center,” said Frank Mobley, CEO of Immedion. “Locating our second data center in the Innovation Center will better enable us to provide services to businesses in the Midlands as well as throughout the state of South Carolina. In addition, the provisioning of a second, geographically diverse location will allow Immedion to provide uptime for critical technology beyond the capabilities of any single data center location.”
“Our partnership with USC and The City of Columbia is a prime example of effective collaboration that fosters the knowledge economy in South Carolina,” said Bill Mahoney, SCRA CEO. “SCRA is dedicated to investing both our capital and our applied research and commercialization know-how to deliver an infrastructure that will support the creation of high-paying, knowledge economy jobs.”
Wachovia is providing financing for the SCRA USC Innovation Center. The architectural and engineering design for the new facility was provided by the Garvin Design Group, while Mashburn Construction serves as the general contractor for the building restoration.
Mahoney said the property is in a key location for a center that will provide easy access, visibility and economic opportunity for the citizens of Columbia.
“This facility will be a technology-based cornerstone to serve start-up companies with intellectual property coming out of USC as well as the private sector.” he said.
Through its SCLaunch program, SCRA has provided both funding and support to 149 knowledge-based start-up entities in South Carolina since the program’s inception in April, 2006. SC Launch portfolio companies have secured more than $71 million in follow-on, private capital.