(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

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PORT ST. LUCIE, FL- The Torrey Pines Institute for MolecularStudies (TPIMS) has received its certificate of occupancy for its103,000-sf facility at the Florida Center for Innovation, a150-acre research park under development here. This will be thefirst biotechnology organization attracted by Florida's InnovationIncentive program to complete and move into a building at thecenter, according to a press release published by developer CoreCommunities.

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As part of the incentives, the City of Port St. Lucie built the$40-million facility for TPIMS. Suffolk Construction, which wasresponsible for building the LEED-certified structure, finished theproject months ahead of schedule.

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TPIMS president Richard Houghten has said he plans to bring 189employees to its new headquarters within 10 years. The organizationwill use the seven laboratories in the structure to pursueinnovative research on the treatment of major medical conditionssuch as diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, AIDS andheart disease.

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"This achievement is testament to the entrepreneurial spirit ofthe City of Port St. Lucie and to the partnership established withTPIMS president Dr. Richard Houghten," said Andy Favata, vicepresident of Core Communities, in the release. "Two years after Dr.Houghten announced his intention to establish new headquartershere, a highly sophisticated, technologically robust,LEED-certified facility is open for business."

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The Florida Center for Innovation is located in the 8,300-acremaster-planned community of Tradition, developed by Port St.Lucie-based Core Communities. Since construction on the TPIMSfacility began in March 2007, more research companies have signedon to locate here.

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The Oregon Health & Science University will expand itsVaccine and Gene Therapy Institute (VGTI), into a 130,000-sffacility here, with plans to create 200 jobs over the next tenyears. The company will operate out of the third floor of the TPIMSbuilding until its building is constructed and ready for businessin the end of 2011.

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The Mann Research Center has also acquired a 22-acre parcel atthe Florida Center for Innovation with the intent to build a$100-million, 410,000-sf life sciences complex. Construction on thefirst building is expected to begin in summer 2009, and will havefive or six research and development structures at build out,according to Favata. Late last year, BBL Development Group LLC andEquinox Cos. also signed on to bring a 111-room Homewood Suites byHilton, including two restaurants, to the growing biotech hub.

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In addition, Martin Memorial Health Systems is planning a newmedical campus on the site that will break ground in the beginningof 2009, says Favata. The development will include a researchhospital that will perform clinical trials, include a teachingcomponent and a shared services program that will fit in with thebiotechnology companies, he say. "This really is a cluster ofbusinesses that share a vision to improve the health of mankind,"he adds.

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