$78.5M project to expand laboratory space at NCRC

October 24, 2016  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership,

Eight years ago this month, silence fell over a pharmaceutical research campus in northeast Ann Arbor when Pfizer moved its operations and sold the property to the university. Today, it’s a bustling part of UMHS, which has spent recent years putting its laboratories, offices and event spaces back to good use.

Now, the last two empty buildings on the site will take on a new life through a $78.5 million renovation project that will support an expansion of the health system’s research capabilities.

The project, approved last Thursday by the U-M board of regents, will allow the U-M Medical School to create more than 50 modern research laboratories for its faculty scientists and their teams.

The plans call for the renovation of the last two usable buildings — called 20 East and 25 — at the North Campus Research Complex. Built by pharmaceutical company Parke-Davis in 1960 and 1984, respectively, the two structures were part of an expansive campus that eventually housed operations for Warner Lambert and Pfizer before finally shuttering its doors.

While the buildings already have many features integral to modern medical research facilities, U-M will repurpose lab benches, cabinets and other materials salvaged from areas of NCRC that it has already transformed.

“This is a major milestone in our progress toward redeveloping NCRC, and transforming it from an outpost of the university to a magnet,” said NCRC executive director David Canter. “We’re on track to achieve 100 percent utilization of the site’s existing buildings by 2019.”

The new labs will group researchers working on similar topics into “neighborhoods,” with room for both labs and offices where teams can analyze the vast amounts of data that modern medical research generates.

The project will also give all researchers at NCRC a new gathering space, with a two-story atrium filled with natural light. A two-story connector will make it easier for many at NCRC to navigate the interconnected buildings and connect with one another as they go.

Once complete, the NCRC renovation project will play a major role in allowing UMHS to retain and attract the top scientists and researchers in the medical field and keep the organization at the forefront of innovation.

Learn more about NCRC, ongoing research programs and upcoming events by going to the facility website.