USC’s Innovista Research Campus Gets New Partners


USC’s Innovista Research Campus: New partners brought in to boost project

May 17, 2008

By Jeff Wilkinson – The State

USC has approved two partners — a Detroit developer and a Philadelphia investor — to help N.C. developer Craig Davis build the school’s Innovista research campus, billed by supporters as Columbia’s economic future.

The university’s board gave the new team 120 days, with a possible 60-day extension for contingencies, to start construction of the privately funded Horizon II research building.

Should that deadline not be met, “we’ll terminate the contract and find new people,” said Rick Kelly, USC’s vice president for business development and its chief financial officer.

Detroit’s Kale Roscoe and Philadelphia’s Robert Heath — who built the University of Kentucky’s research campus — are negotiating a buy-in to Davis’ Innovista contact.

Two taxpayer-funded buildings, called Horizon I and Discovery I, are about complete. But Davis, according to his contract with USC, should have started construction of Horizon II, the first of two private buildings, by the summer of 2006 and attracted tenants for it. But the contract carried no penalties against Davis for missing the deadline.

USC Board of Trustees chairman Herbert Adams said the new agreement “brings more financial strength” to the campus and “more defined dates” for the private partners.

Davis and the university have said that part of Innovista’s delay was driven by the loss of Intel as the campus’s first corporate tenant.

Davis spent an undisclosed amount of money on recruiting and designing space for a project with the computer giant that never came to fruition. The amount of Roscoe’s and Heath’s buy-in also was not disclosed.

Roscoe and Heath are credited with getting the University of Kentucky’s research campus moving in 2000 after it suffered similar doldrums to USC’s.


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