Parking garages to become med school's "innovation district"

Nov 1, 2013
Austin Business Journal

Those hoping to get in on the action in what’s expected to be a wave of biotech businesses brought on by the development of the Dell Medical School should look to the corner of Trinity and 15th streets


That was the word from local leaders Tuesday at a forum discussing progress on the school’s construction, where a crowd of several hundred got to ask questions of University of Texas officials and other community leaders


After the session was over I talked with former UT provost Steve Leslie about a much speculated-about “innovation district” that leaders expect to serve as the landing spot for those types of ventures. Leslie said it’ll be the property that now holds state-owned parking garages — west of Trinity Street and north of 15th Street — that would comprise that district


That area is immediately west of the eventual medical school, new teaching hospital and other related buildings in the medical school district that will start breaking ground by this time next year. Leslie said it’s too early to tell exactly what types of businesses will sprout up there since that will largely depend on the specific fields of research that will be conducted at the medical school


Those priorities won’t be determined until the medical school’s dean is in place, and university officials hope to announce in January their selection to fill that spot


What this means is that the big building blocks for one of the most ambitious projects in the recent history of Austin and UT are mostly in place. While the planning and construction pieces for the medical school district have mostly been determined, the life sciences and biotech business components are still undetermined and that means there’s a chance to get in position for research partnerships and more


To do that, keep an eye toward those parking garages, since they apparently won’t be there for too much longer


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