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CREVE COEUR, MO-Tarlton Corp., based in St. Louis, started construction recently on the first of three office buildings planned for the new Bio-Research & Development Growth Park at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Hanover, MD-based Wexford Science + Technology company is developing the park. The first 118,000-sf office and laboratory building, expected to house six tenants, is costing $36.1 million to build, according to a Tarlton statement.

Officials with the Danforth center and the community have said that the new office park will help bring more laboratory jobs to the community. St. Louis County executive Charlie Dooley said in a statement that job growth is important to the economic future of the area. “As the life sciences industry continues to flourish, where the average worker earns more than $50,000 annually, we believe this new research park is important to provide the space and equipment for promising companies that are ready to graduate from a business incubator, and might otherwise consider looking outside our region to find the right lab and office space.”

The Danforth center is a non-profit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. The buildings planned for the new office park will contain wet laboratory and office space to support the scientific and business needs of emerging life science companies, and will directly adjoin the center, according to a Danforth statement.

Tarlton officials said in a press release that LEED certification will be sought for the new four-story building, which will have a concrete foundation and structural steel framing. The state and local community are providing more than $1 million in tax incentives for the construction of the park. The first building should be complete by March 2009.

Wexford and Tarlton specialize in real estate solutions for high technology and life sciences companies. Both companies have completed similar properties in the St. Louis area. Tarlton has built projects for Monsanto Co., Pfizer Inc. and Washington University. Wexford, a division of Wexford Equities, has R&D properties in Maryland, Pennsylvania, St. Louis and Chicago. A Wexford official did not return a call for comment by press time.

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