MSU Exploring Ways To Turn Grand Rapids Press Building Into Research Lab

Press building and Secchia Center

The Grand Rapids Press building (right); Secchia Center in background. (FOX 17)

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University is taking steps towards finalizing plans for a biomedical research center at the site of the old Grand Rapids Press building in downtown Grand Rapids.

Officials announced Friday they are looking at options on how to proceed in development of the physical facility but did not say whether the old newspaper building would be used or replaced.

The Grand Rapids Press building, just off I-196 on Michigan Street, is across Ionia Avenue from the recently opened Sechhia Center housing the MSU College of Human Medicine. Officials noted that the Secchia Center was designed for education and not for research. The school acquired the Press building with the goal of establishing an MSU Grand Rapids Research Center.

The big question for MSU is how to go about building out the research center, “a traditional university-financed model and a developer-financed model,” the university said in a statement. The first option is for the school to foot the entire bill for development of the center. The search for contractors for this option will begin later this summer.

The second option would involve developers. To that end, MSU issued Friday a request for qualifications for developer, or RFQ, to find entities interested in a public/private partnership wih the school. In this case, MSU is seeking developers with the financial ability and the research facility experience necessary to become a partner.

The research center is anticipated to use 145,000 square feet.

Hiring began in January 2014, and 15 “principal investigators” and teams have already been recruited, with more on the way in the next three years.

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