Press Releases

Richmond’s Holistic Approach to Life Sciences Growth

Richmond, Va., Mar. 17, 2023 A Virginia Bio panel discussed the need for a balanced approach to the life sciences ecosystem, leveraging the life science, healthcare, and higher education community, especially in light of recent momentum in the life sciences market in Richmond. The panel brought together Kipton Currier, Vice President of Operations at Activation Capital, Don Bush, Principal at HKS, Matt Magruder, Director of Construction Management at VCU and Jay Stoda, Business Unit Leader at DPR Construction.

Largely attributed to a late 1990s vision, recent statewide investments have fueled Virginia Commonwealth University’s research and construction plans, as well as Activation Capital’s initiative to support entrepreneurs and researchers through a new 102,000 sq. ft. Innovation Center in Downtown Richmond.

A facility analysis is currently underway at VCU that will allow for a better understanding of the current spatial needs for labs and research & development space, and the anchor programs that will drive growth. Activation Capital is working in parallel with VCU in the collection of data. The anticipated results will include information on operational essentials and life cycle costs as well as food access, childcare, and housing.

Some of the biggest questions include the current utilization rates of lab facilities in the area, the high cost of entry into the market, and recruitment and community engagement.

From flexible suites for cGMP research in clinical settings to lab conversions in office buildings dealing with more vacancy in a post-COVID world, there is a complexity to fitting new programs into existing spaces,” Stoda said. Our customers need adaptability to support interdisciplinary goals, necessitating a shift away from compartmentalized design and construction.

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