The latest addition to the University of Delaware’s STAR Campus is now open.
UD, state and federal officials gathered earlier this month to celebrate the opening of the Delaware Technology Park’s incubator, which is housed in the former Chrysler administration building. The space, which was rehabbed by Delle Donne and Associates, is also home to UD’s health science department and the technology company SevOne.
The incubator is an expansion of Delaware Technology Park, which opened in 1992 on Wyoming Road. A nonprofit collaboration between the state, university and private sector, the facility houses 50 start-up companies.
DTP’s STAR Campus location opened earlier this year and is already at its capacity of 12 tenants, mostly pharmaceutical, biotechnology and nanotechnology companies.
“I’m thrilled to get companies that have so much potential to scale up,” J. Michael Bowman, president of DTP, said.
Companies pay $65 to $75 per square foot, cheaper than if they had to find their own facility. They each get private lab space, plus access to shared areas, such as a kitchen and conference room.
The idea, he said, is to nurture the small companies so they grow and eventually move out on their own. Tenants sign three-year leases, but Bowman is happy to tear up the leases sooner if the company outgrows DTP.
“I’m a small-ball player. Make the garden grow and reseed,” he said. “Someone else comes behind with the same start-up needs.”
Bowman said DTP needed to expand to accommodate more tenants, and the STAR Campus site provided a good opportunity for the companies to collaborate with UD. Future amenities in the works – such as a hotel and train station upgrades – were also a factor in the decision, he said.
UD students benefit through the Spin-In program, through which undergraduates work for the tenant companies. The students often get hired after they graduate, or sometimes branch out and form their own company.
“It’s a feeder and keeps talented people graduating from UD in the area,” Bowman said.
The new facility was partially funded by a $3 million loan from the state and a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce.