sealPurdue News

November 9, 1998

Purdue helps businesses soar out of nest

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Construction began today (Monday, 11/9) on a new building that will house graduates of the Purdue Research Park business incubators.

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"This new building, the Innovation Center, is our way of helping new businesses that have outgrown the incubator stage but still want to be close to the Research Park, Purdue and its faculty's expertise," said Stan Mithoefer, director of real estate for the Purdue Research Foundation. "As part of the graduation process, tenants of the Innovation Center will have access to the same services provided by our incubators, but they will lease space at higher rental rates."

The 48,000-square-foot Innovation Center, expected to cost $3 million, will open one year from now at 3065 Kent Ave. All the space has been leased already.

"The community will benefit in two ways," Mithoefer said. "We will retain high-tech jobs and pay full property taxes."

The Research Park boasts two incubators on Cumberland Avenue. A 28,000-square-foot center opened in 1993 and is now at capacity with 29 businesses. The second incubator, a 60,000-square-foot building now under construction, will open next June.

The new incubator will offer a more sophisticated office decor, a much larger, 75-seat conference room, and two-way video conferencing capability.

The number of small business incubators in the United States has grown from 12 in 1980 to more than 600. Businesses begun in such nurturing facilities experience a 75 percent success rate.

PRF's version of an incubator provides start-up businesses, mainly in the high-tech arena, with a shared office concept, flexible leases, attractive rental rates, and some shared office services including the use of a copier machine and administrative assistant. PRF also plans to help these fledgling companies write a business plan, market their product, connect with mentors, and utilize the expertise of accountants, bankers, attorneys and other professionals.

"Once inside the business incubator, many of these new companies grow very fast and don't have a lot of cash reserves," said Jeffrey Wilson, PRF senior vice president and treasurer. "We believe that what reserves they do have should be spent on scientific equipment and product marketing rather than purchasing expensive real estate."

The Purdue Research Park, which opened in 1961, is home to 81 companies that employ 2,500 people. It covers almost 700 acres, of which 120 have been developed by the Purdue Research Foundation, the nonprofit corporation that sponsors the park.

Sources: Stan Mithoefer, (765) 494-1727; e-mail:

Jeffrey Wilson, (765) 494-8642; e-mail:

Writer: Jeanine Smith, (765) 496-3133;e-mail:

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail,

This is the design by FBi Buildings Inc., a Remington, Ind., building and design firm, for the new Innovation Center being built by the Purdue Research Foundation at 3065 Kent Ave. in the Purdue Research Park.
Color photo, electronic transmission, and Web and ftp download available. Photo ID: Mithoefer.Center
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