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WORCESTER, MA-Worcester Polytechnic Institute has broken ground on a 124,600-sf life sciences and bioengineering center that will become the first structure in an 11-acre mixed use life sciences park planned for the property. Situated in a former industrial brownfield, the four-story building at 60-68 Prescott St. will house laboratories, support facilities and other amenities for the school.

Along with the new construction, the center will include a renovated industrial building which will be used for offices and meeting rooms. Developed by WPI and the Worcester Business Development Corp., the center, which is expected to cost more than $35 million, is scheduled to be completed in early 2007.

“This partnership means the jobs of the future, the discoveries of the future and the industries of the future have a home here in central Massachusetts,” Sen. Edward Kennedy said at a groundbreaking ceremony. “Worcester stands at the cutting-edge of innovation and discovery in this new century of life sciences.

Worcester Polytech will use about 75% of the building for its graduate research in the life sciences and related fields, including engineering, biology, biotechnology, biomedical engineering, chemistry and biochemistry. The school’s Bioengineering Institute will also be located in the building. The remaining space will be leased to private firms. The redevelopment site, known as Gateway Park, will also include a 680 car parking lot and three other buildings totaling 340,000 sf which will be leased to business and commercial users. Housing will be built on another 1.7 acres.

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