Groundbreaking for a mixed-use development focused on collaborative innovation in Oklahoma City’s Innovation District is set to begin in late 2021. Leading commercial real estate developers Richard Tanenbaum, Gardner Tanenbaum, and Mark Beffort, Robinson Park Investments, have joined forces to develop the complex. They secured 2.7 acres of land near NE 8th Street and I-235 on December 22nd, 2020.
The focus of the project is to build an environment that promotes cross-sector collaboration among Oklahoma’s key industries, including aviation, aerospace, bioscience, and energy. More than 400,000 sq. ft. of facilities will feature shared technology for 3D imaging and printing, in addition to biomedical research and laboratories.
“In OKC we’re no stranger to big ambition. We’re honored to work alongside our city leaders to build on OKC’s reputation as a front-runner in national innovation. The foundation of this project is inclusion, diversity, growth, and opportunity for all Oklahomans,” said Mark Beffort, Robinson Park Investments CEO.
Mayor David Holt, City Manager Craig Freeman, and Ward 7 Councilwoman Nicky Nice have been briefed on the project.
Designed by FSB Architects, the 400,000 sq. ft., pedestrian-centric layout features research labs and office space, a hotel, retail space, and a public realm providing an open-air community environment. A key feature of the project is the proposed MAPS 4 funded Innovation Hall, a central place where activities to grow Oklahoma City’s innovation economy can be facilitated.
“FSB is honored to celebrate this historic announcement today for Oklahoma City’s emerging Innovation District,” said Ryan Dawson, FSB Associate Principal. “This world-class showcase for innovation is an economic win for OKC that will further enhance collaboration between industries, academia, business and public sectors. FSB is a proud partner with Gardner Tanenbaum and Robinson Park Investments to help bring together all community groups, and make this dream a reality. We are passionate about innovation in Oklahoma City and are committed to helping lead the way.”
The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) are supporters of the project. The University of Oklahoma is committed as an educational and research partner.
“The University of Oklahoma is thrilled to be the educational partner for this transformative expansion in the Innovation District,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “The project affords tremendous opportunity for OU to further grow our life-changing research in the areas of bio-technology, aerospace and defense, advanced manufacturing and more. We’re eager to see how this critical partnership will enable us to extend our work in harnessing innovation and pathbreaking discoveries for the betterment of Oklahoma and beyond.”
“Oklahoma City has been building momentum in the biotechnology arena, and this project represents an important step forward as we seek to create collaboration between this and other emerging technology sectors in our city,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D. “With OMRF’s track record of successfully spinning off start-up companies, we recognize a great opportunity when we see one. This new space will catalyze cross-pollination and innovation, as well as fuel the development of top-notch researchers and scientists in our community. We’re excited to join in this effort and follow the new paths it blazes.”
Wheeler Labs, the first portfolio company of Echo Investment Capital’s venture capital fund in biotech, is planned to be the anchor tenant. Wheeler Labs is a clinical laboratory developing high-complexity diagnostic services with expansionary plans into the bio-manufacturing industry.
“When Wheeler Labs was offered a position as an anchor tenant we committed on the spot. Uniting the health science corridor with downtown is exactly what our community needs. We can offer a compelling proposition to Pharma and Healthcare companies by offering the highest quality, lowest cost pathways to discover new medicine. We’ve yet to speak with an investor, scientist, or venture capitalist who’s not interested in collaboration once they’ve heard the story,” said Christian Kanady, local energy entrepreneur and founder of Echo Investment Capital.
The Oklahoma City Innovation District encompasses 1.3 square miles east of downtown. Along with this project, the District is projected to provide more than 6,000 jobs over the next three to five years.
“The Innovation District is designed to be an epicenter for collaboration, innovation, opportunity, and economic growth. We convene divergent industries to create opportunities for next-level innovation. Researchers, entrepreneurs, and big-thinkers all converge here in a collaborative environment. This state-of-the-art development will position our city as a leading competitor for new companies, jobs and talent in a global economy,” said Katy Evans Boren, Innovation District CEO.
The joint effort between Oklahoma City’s leading commercial developers Richard Tanenbaum and Mark Beffort marks a significant partnership, each with a portfolio that spans the nation.
This project ushers in a new era for our ever-growing city. Researchers, engineers, universities and industry leaders are pioneering Oklahoma-born advances in bioscience, aerospace, energy and health. We’ve matched that trailblazing spirit to develop, design, and build the environment for technological collaboration. We’ve established the equivalent of a high-performance sports team, and the MVP’s are front and center. I’m proud to work alongside the partners and supporters of this project to develop a space where innovators can dream in a diverse environment, share ideas across industry boundaries, and cultivate cross-sector relationships. It’s a breeding ground where revolutionary ideas can flourish, and I’m proud to be a part of it.” said Richard Tanenbaum, Gardner Tanenbaum CEO.