Published: April 3, 2014

RFQ issued for new MSU Grand Rapids biomedical research center

Contact(s): Geri Kelley College of Human Medicine office: (616) 233-1678 cell: (616) 350-7976

Michigan State University is considering two delivery options for a biomedical research center in Grand Rapids: a traditional university-financed model and a developer-financed model.

The first step of the evaluation began April 3 with the issuance of a request for qualifications for developer (RFQ) for the proposed MSU Grand Rapids Research Center. The RFQ was issued to developers interested in a public/private partnership with MSU on the facility, a project that was announced in September.

A number of higher education institutions are using similar models, and MSU has been encouraged to consider the second delivery model for comparison to the university’s traditional delivery model for its facilities.

“In conversations with the community, we have come to understand the value of exploring multiple options,” said Vennie Gore, MSU vice president for Auxiliary Enterprises. “This process allows us to reach out to highly qualified developers with the financial capabilities and research lab experience that are essential for shaping a world class scientific environment.”

The need for biomedical research space in Grand Rapids is crucial to support the projected growth of MSU and its NIH-funded research portfolios, including the research arm of the College of Human Medicine.

As of January 2014, the medical school has recruited 15 principal investigators (PIs) and their scientific teams to West Michigan. The college anticipates recruiting another six to nine additional PIs over the next three years, for a total of 21 to 24 PIs – plus their research teams – prior to the opening of the Grand Rapids Research Center.

In 2010, MSU College of Human Medicine opened the Secchia Center, a state-of-the-art facility planned specifically for medical education and not designed to accommodate research laboratories. The college has partnered with the Van Andel Institute and Grand Valley State University to lease space for newly recruited MSU investigators in their facilities. The immediacy of MSU’s Grand Rapids Research Center is imperative, as the College of Human Medicine fully occupies all desirable laboratory space available to MSU in Grand Rapids.

Since last September’s announcement of plans for the biomedical research center, MSU has completed its exploration phase. The location of the new biomedical research facility will be the former Grand Rapids Press building site and the facility is anticipated to be approximately 145,000 square feet.

Now in the programmatic phase of the project, the design team for programming and schematic design is working on detailed specifications, refined cost estimates and determination of financing and delivery models.

Later this summer, the university will issue a request for proposal (RFP) for contractors interested in participating in the traditional delivery model. The staging of requests will allow university officials to review a side-by-side comparison of both delivery mechanisms, culminating in a recommendation to the MSU Board of Trustees anticipated later this year.

Pending approvals, the new biomedical research facility is planned to open late 2017.