Lawrence City Commission to consider extending financial support for business incubator
photo by: Journal-World file photo
Lawrence city commissioners will soon decide whether to provide more than $100,000 of additional financial support for the Bioscience and Technology Business Center.
The BTBC, which is located on the University Kansas west campus, is asking the city and Douglas County to extend their rent relief another year for the BTBC’s expansion facility, 4950 Bob Billings Parkway, according to a city staff memo to the commission. As part of its meeting Tuesday, the commission will vote whether to approve the BTBC’s request for the city to cover half of the BTBC’s bond debt service for 2019, which would cost the city about $116,000. The BTBC will be asking the county to cover the other half. The BTBC contribution would remain at $25,000 annually for another year.
The high-tech business incubator opened in 2010 with financial backing from the city, county, KU Endowment, the university and Kansas Bioscience Authority. It was originally thought that the BTBC would be able to take over the payment, but BTBC leaders said in a letter to the city and county that the center is not able to do so. Specifically, BTBC VP of Finance, Adam Courtney, said in the letter that a business analysis indicated that due to the center’s specialized laboratories and limited size, some level of public support will always be needed.
“Whether (this) is a priority for the city and county, as part of a long term economic development plan, needs to be determined as part of an extended assessment period,” the letter states.
In the memo to the commission, city staff states that if the extended financial support is approved, the city would have the opportunity to work with the BTBC staff and the county on long-term options related to the facility.
The City Commission will convene at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St.