Midlands leaders celebrate opening of Innovation Center
The new SCRA USC Innovation Center is ready for business.
The University of South Carolina, the South Carolina Research Authority and the City of Columbia opened the fully renovated facility Thursday (Aug. 19). It is a building designed to house knowledge-based companies emerging from research at USC and the general marketplace that are entering commercialization and advanced manufacturing stages.
The facility is situated and designed to stimulate and sustain clean, next-generation manufacturing, along with related development and support services.
University President Harris Pastides said the SCRA/USC Innovation Center will combine the best research out of our laboratories with the best creative business minds from the Midlands and beyond.
“We needed a space that doesn’t look conventional. It’s not just your father’s office building,” USC President Harris Pastides said at the grand opening of the 74,000-square-foot facility at Catawba and Assembly streets.
“We’re celebrating now one new structure with all of this great texture that’s here and detail, and we have a product that is ready to go to work.”
Renovations on the building began in October 2009. It features 65,000 square feet of open space, enough for 10 to 15 high-tech, light-manufacturing start-ups. SCRA invested $5.6 million in the building.
The Innovation Center is the second of three world-class facilities that SCRA is providing in conjunction with its university and civic partners in South Carolina to grow the Knowledge Economy. The first is in Charleston. With these centers, SCRA is fulfilling legislative mandates identified in the Innovation Centers Act focused on the commercialization of new knowledge-based discoveries.
Bill Mahoney, CEO of SCRA, said the property is in a key location for an innovation center because it provides easy access, visibility and economic opportunity for the citizens of Columbia.
“This facility is a knowledge-based technology cornerstone to serve start-up companies with intellectual property coming out of USC as well as the private sector,” he said.
The first SCRA USC Innovation Center tenant, Immedion, will move into the center next month.
Also at Thursday’s event, Mahoney presented SCRA Knowledge Economist awards to S.C. Rep. Joan Brady, Dr. James L. Hudgins and Dr. Barry W. Russell. Drs. Hudgins and Russell both are former presidents of Midlands Technical College and of the South Carolina Technical College System. Brady has been a strong advocate of Knowledge Economy initiatives, both with SCRA and EngenuitySC.
The SCRA Knowledge Economist Award Program recognizes outstanding citizens who have made significant contributions to South Carolina’s Knowledge Economy.