Three Questions With ... Michael Copeland, mayor of Olathe
It took $10 to put Olathe on the map of bioscience research. That's how much the Kansas City suburb was paid to deed over 92 acres of land that will become a bioscience research park, life science business incubator and Kansas State University satellite campus.
The Olathe City Council on Tuesday approved a development plan for Innovation Park, a project that will shape what city officials here describe as "the only true research park affiliated with a university in the Kansas City metropolitan area."
"We believe we will have national recognition on this project in the future," said Michael Wilkes, Olathe city manager.
The project in northwest Olathe, just east of Kansas Highway 7 on College Boulevard, was announced nearly a year ago.
It will look like this:
¢ Kansas State will build a bioscience research campus on 38 acres on the south end of the development. Research at the K-State Olathe Innovation Campus will focus primarily on animal science, national food supply security and alternative fuels.
¢ The Kansas Bioscience Authority will manage the remaining 54 acres, which will have a bioscience research laboratory and a business park expected to attract start-up and relocated life science businesses.
The city of Olathe will offer tax abatements to incoming bioscience businesses.
Clay Blair, who until today was chairman of the Kansas Bioscience Authority, said the businesses could come from anywhere and don't have to be spinoffs of K-State research.
"It's open from anywhere in state or out of state," he said.
The projected economic impact of the park includes $150 million in public and private investment and 3,000 new jobs.
Michael Copeland, Olathe mayor, said he expected the project to benefit not only Olathe and Johnson County, but the rest of Kansas.
"It's good for the whole state," Copeland said following the Olathe council meeting. "We're suffering from brain drain. This will help keep jobs in Kansas."
The project also gives K-State an additional presence in Johnson County.
Blair, who previously helped land the Kansas University Edwards Campus in Overland Park, about eight miles from the new K-State campus, applauded the Olathe City Council's decision to hand over what was originally planned as park grounds. The 92 acres for which K-State and the Bioscience Authority paid $10 had an estimated value of $9 million.
"Having been involved many, many years ago with the Edwards Campus in Overland Park, I know the impact of a rising tide," Blair said. "And the vision you all are demonstrating tonight will be felt by generations to come."
Kansas University officials were not available to comment Tuesday on what the development could mean for KU or Lawrence.