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PHOENIX-Phoenix’s fledging bioscience industry took a step into the future when officials broke ground on a 170,000-sf, six-story office and laboratory facility that will become the centerpiece of the Phoenix Bioscience Center at Copper Square.

At last week’s ground-breaking ceremony, Gov. Janet Napolitano called it “a historic day for Arizona.” The site is along Fifth Street, just north of Van Buren Street and across from the Arizona Center.

“The Phoenix Bioscience Center will boost the whole state as we claim our proper place in the knowledge-based industry of the future,” said Napolitano, who was among a crowd of 400, including state and local dignitaries. The ground-breaking marks the start of construction on the first phase of the project which will be will be home to the Translational Genomics Research Center, the International Genomics Consortium and other bio-science affiliates.

“This is a real first for the city,” a spokesman for the SmithGroup, which designed the project, tells GlobeSt.com. “The city is looking to build a foundation for biomedical science in Phoenix and this is the start.”

The SmithGroup contact said the first phase of the $46-million project is expected to be completed by November 2004. Along with office, laboratory and support space, the project will feature a “communicating staircase” that will allow departments to interact with each other. The project will also feature a landscape design that will look like a strand of DNA from overhead, he noted. The facility is being built by DPR Construction on the site of the old Phoenix Union High School in downtown Phoenix.

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