P&S Journal: Winter 1996, Vol.16, No.1
Governor Joins Celebration of First Audubon Building
Gov. George Pataki joined Columbia officials in October to open the first of five buildings in New York City's first biomedical research and biotechnology park. The building, renamed in November for the late renowned advocate for biomedical research, is called the Mary Woodard Lasker Biomedical Research Building. It houses the Audubon Business and Technology Center, which is expected to jump-start the city's biotechnology industry.
While New York State represents the fifth largest concentration of biotechnology companies in the United States, less than 1 percent of them are located in New York City. Despite sources of venture capital and the presence of many academic medical centers with intellectual and scientific talent to spark business development, New York City is home to only 10 small biotechnology companies that employ about 220 people.
Columbia University developed the $28 million Lasker Biomedical Research Building in partnership with the city and state as the first building in the Audubon Biomedical Science and Technology Park. The facility is an incubator for young biotechnology and biomedically related companies and the linchpin in efforts to help the city attract its share of this $11.2 billion industry.
The first tenant is Dobelle Institute Inc., established in 1993. Dobelle develops permanently implanted electronics to stimulate the brain and central nervous system. The company has signed a 10-year lease. The company's long-term goal is to develop artificial-vision technology that may allow the blind to see. Four additional biotechnology companies are in lease negotiations for portions of the 60,000 square feet of laboratory space in the center.
"Audubon is important because it will provide a vehicle for translating the discoveries of new medical science into innovative new treatments for a wide range of illnesses," says Dr. Herbert Pardes, vice president for Health Sciences and dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Columbia University.
All of the building's 10,000 square feet of first-floor storefront retail space has been leased. The space is occupied by restaurants, a bank, and a bookstore.
Construction of the first Audubon Park building earned Columbia the Commitment Award from the Association of Minority Enterprises of New York Inc. for maximizing participation by minority- and women-owned businesses during construction.
Columbia's aggressive strategy assured that 37 percent of the subcontracts for construction and related activities were let to women- and minority-owned businesses.
|At the ribbon cutting for the first building in the Audubon Biomedical Science and Technology Park are, left to right, State Sen. Franz Leichter; Dr. William Speck, president of Presbyterian Hospital; Jerry I. Speyer, chairman of the Columbia Trustees; Columbia Provost Jonathan Cole; Vice President and Dean Herbert Pardes; Ruth Messinger, Manhattan borough president; New York Gov. George Pataki; Charles Gargano, chairman of Empire State Development Corp.; and New York City Councilman Guillermo Linares.