A Fortune 500 company is close to signing a deal to locate 15 employees in a new incubator facility jointly developed by Kansas University and local governments, city and KU leaders were told Tuesday.
Lawrence city commissioners and Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little met Tuesday afternoon at the Bioscience and Business Technology Center on West Campus, and said the early success of the incubator is a sign that KU and the city should partner on other projects in the future.
“I and many other people at the university realize the town is a tremendous asset to the university,” Gray-Little said. “Projects and initiatives that help the town prosper are beneficial to the university too.”
Matt McClorey, president and CEO of the incubator’s management group, said the potential tenant is an information technology company and would take two office suites in the new center. Other details about the company weren’t released.
If completed, the company would become the second tenant since the center opened in July. An Irish-based software development firm — Propylon — moved 14 employees into the facility earlier this month.
During an approximately hour-long meeting, Gray-Little and city commissioners agreed that the city and university should continue working together on projects. And some may extend beyond economic development.
Gray-Little brought up the issue of properly maintaining privately owned rental housing that is next to the university. She said university leaders had a strong interest in not seeing the neighborhoods near the university deteriorate because of a lack of property maintenance.
She also expressed interest in exploring how the city could become involved in university efforts to educate students about the dangers of abusing alcohol.
City commissioners said they were interested in building upon a trend of more collaboration with the university.
“I believe there has been an attitude that has changed,” City Commissioner Mike Dever told Gray-Little. “New leadership always can bring new energy, and we welcome yours.”