The University of Arizona

UA BioPark, Solar Zone Recognized by International Economic Development Council

By Jessa Turner, Office of University Research Parks | November 6, 2012
The Solar Zone at the UA Tech Park was recognized as the best project for Sustainable & Green Development for communities with populations greater than 500,000.
The Solar Zone at the UA Tech Park was recognized as the best project for Sustainable & Green Development for communities with populations greater than 500,000.

The Bridges/UA BioPark was recognized as one of the top economic development projects in the United States, and the The Solar Zone at the UA Tech Park was recognized as one of the best sustainable development projects.

The Bridges, a master-planned, 350-acre mixed-use development in south central Tucson, won a silver award for Public-Private Partnerships.
The Bridges, a master-planned, 350-acre mixed-use development in south central Tucson, won a silver award for Public-Private Partnerships.

The University of Arizona has received national recognition from the International Economic Development Council for two economic development projects that have had a significant impact on the Tucson region. 

The Bridges/UA BioPark was recognized as one of the top economic development projects in the United States during 2012. The project earned a silver award for Public-Private Partnerships. The Solar Zone at the UA Tech Park was recognized as the best project for Sustainable & Green Development for communities with populations greater than 500,000.

“The University of Arizona is very pleased that the IEDC has recognized and rewarded our efforts to provide workforce, academic, sustainable and economic enhancement in our community," UA President Ann Weaver Hart said.

"By virtue of the conservation, education and goods and services they provide, these projects represent a key component of the UA’s land-grant mission," Hart said. "In our future as a university, this kind of public-private partnership will take on greater and greater importance.”

The Bridges/UA BioPark was recognized as an outstanding and innovative development that has significantly enhanced the economic revitalization of a distressed communities, state or region. Projects recognized in this area represented efforts in which larger private contributions have been added to smaller, vital public commitments. The other winners were Space Florida and NASA/Kennedy Space Center Commercial Partnership, Ogden City/Boyer Company Public-Private Partnership and Brick City Development Corporation's Food Depot project.

The Bridges is a master-planned, 350-acre mixed-use development in south central Tucson. It is a partnership of the UA, 5151 LLC (Lennar Homes and KB Home) and Retail West/Eastbourne Investments. The Bridges is anchored by the UA’s 65-acre BioPark, which is being developed and managed by the UA Office of University Research Parks. The Bridges is bringing retail and residential development to Tucson’s central city. It is home to two large retailers with several smaller retail pads under development.

The UA BioPark is being developed as a site for high-technology companies, especially those in the fields of biosciences, life sciences and health care. The park will include commercial facilities, a science high school, hotel and conference center and multi-family housing. The University recently completed construction of the core site improvements and infrastructure including roads, water, sewer and utilities. The UA Office of University Research Parks has developed the park through strong partnerships with the surrounding neighborhoods, community organizations and the city and county governments.

The Solar Zone at the UA Tech Park, managed by the UA Office of University Research Parks, received a gold award in the category of Sustainable & Green Development for communities with populations greater than 500,000.

The UA Tech Park, in partnership with Tucson Electric Power, or TEP, created the Solar Zone to accelerate the growth and development of the solar industry in Southern Arizona. The Solar Zone is a business and research zone aimed at new product development, testing, evaluation, demonstration and generation of solar energy to spur industry growth. 

Phase One of the Solar Zone, dedicated to projects selected by TEP, occupies 165 acres of land and hosts seven companies demonstrating a variety of solar energy technologies. With a combined capacity of 23 megawatts, Phase One arrays are designed to generate power that is fed directly into TEP’s electrical grid and delivered to TEP customers through long-term purchase power agreements or utility ownership. When fully complete in early 2013, Phase One is expected to be the largest multi-technology solar demonstration site in the world. Phase Two focuses on research, development and production of new solar technology and applications.

The International Economic Development Council's Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials and the year’s most influential leaders. These awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban and rural communities. The UA projects competed with 741 submissions from economic development organizations, corporations and public/private entities throughout the country. The awards were presented at an awards ceremony on Oct. 2, during the International Economic Development Council Annual Conference in Houston.

"We recognize the UA Office of University Research Parks for creating innovative and successful strategies to promote economic development in this period of global recovery,” said Jay Moon, chairman of the International Economic Development Council. “Our awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in communities. The UA Office of University Research Parks demonstrates that it is at the forefront of the economic development profession and is using cutting-edge, effective practices that can be replicated in other communities."

The International Economic Development Council, or IEDC, is the world’s largest independent non-profit membership and research organization devoted exclusively to the field of economic development. It helps economic development professionals create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities and improve the quality of life in their regions. Serving more than 4,400 members, the IEDC provides a diverse range of services including conferences, professional development and certification, publications, research, advisory services and legislative tracking.

The Office of University Research Parks, or OURP, creates communities of innovation in support of the UA’s mission of education, research and outreach. OURP contributes to state and regional economic development utilizing research parks and business incubators to advance technology development, commercialization and business attraction. OURP manages the UA Science and Technology Park (UA Tech Park), the Arizona Bioscience Park (UA BioPark) and the Arizona Center for Innovation, a technology business incubator.