Buoyed by record commercialization activity, the Purdue Research Foundation is embarking on another major expansion in West Lafayette and considering additional investment in New Albany. The foundation says a $12 million, 60,000 square foot expansion of the Herman and Heddy Kurz Purdue Technology Center at the Purdue Research Park is already two-thirds leased. “The news is about the fact that we have to build it,” said foundation President Dan Hasler. “The community is growing so rapidly that we’re just trying to make room for everybody that wants to start companies.” The foundation manages Purdue’s statewide research park network and in an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, Hasler says increased startup demand is not limited to the flagship, 725-acre park in West Lafayette.
“We are having space issues in New Albany and will likely have to do something there,” says Hasler.
In July, Purdue reported record-breaking commercialization activity, including 40 startups, with more than half of them based on Purdue-licensed intellectual property. The university also reported healthy increases in global and U.S. patents issued, invention disclosures and licensing deals.
Spensa Technologies, Inc. is an example of the innovation and startup activity taking place in West Lafayette. The precision agriculture company launched in 2009 and was one of the first tenants in the Kurz Technology Center and will be a major beneficiary of expanded space at PRP.
Spensa currently has 26 employees with plans to add another 40 over the next five years. The company is investing nearly $700,000 in IT equipment and added space.
“It’s critical for our growth,” said Spensa Vice President of Business Operations Ed Lee. “The Purdue Research Foundation not just provides the space, but the help and services with marketing and public relations and recruiting. All of those things add up to allowing us to be successful as a young company.”
The Purdue Research Park is the largest university-affiliated incubation complex in the nation. The PRP network includes locations in West Lafayette, Merrillville, Indianapolis and New Albany that house more than 250 companies and 4,500 employees.
The newest addition to the tech network is the nearly 1,000 acre Purdue Research Park Aerospace District, which could announce its first tenant soon.
“I am so ready,” said Hasler. “We’ve had a lot of great activity, it’s been a couple of months, and I expect to be announcing something very soon.”