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September 24, 2001

UC MBEST Center headquarters building dedicated

By Tim Stephens

UCSC celebrated a milestone in the redevelopment of the former Fort Ord last week with the dedication of the Monterey Bay Education, Science, and Technology (MBEST) Center's new headquarters building and the city of Marina Small Business Incubator. The 26,000-square-foot headquarters complex houses the UC MBEST Center administrative offices, UCSC Extension, the Marina Small Business Incubator, and a variety of other tenants.

UCSC and the city of Marina celebrated the completion of the UC MBEST Center's new headquarters building and the Marina Small Business Incubator with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Left to right: UC MBEST Center director Lora Martin, Congressman Sam Farr, Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood, Marina mayor Jim Perrine, and Marina city council member Ila Metee-McCutchon. Photo: Victor Schiffrin, UCSC Photo Services
UC Santa Cruz is developing the MBEST Center as a cornerstone of the Fort Ord redevelopment plan. The center aims to foster regional economic development and job creation by establishing a community of high-technology businesses.

Joining the celebration on Monday, September 17, were Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood, UC MBEST Center director Lora Martin, Congressman Sam Farr, Marina mayor Jim Perrine, and Dianne Church, regional director of the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

"We are celebrating not only a beautiful new building, but also the exciting new partnerships that made it possible," Greenwood said. "Through the MBEST Center, UCSC and our collaborators are opening new doors to research, technology, and economic development."

The Marina Small Business Incubator represents an important and growing partnership between UCSC and the city of Marina, said center director Martin. The incubator offers a variety of support programs for participating businesses, such as access to technical support services, regional research linkages, educational and networking programs, financing assistance, and technology transfer and licensing advice. As an element of the city's overall economic development strategy, graduates from the incubator will be encouraged to relocate to adjacent business parks, said Marina mayor Jim Perrine.

"The Small Business Incubator is an innovative project combining city of Marina resources with the technical expertise of the local private and public academic community," Perrine said. "These combined resources will provide strong support for start-up and expanding business enterprises."

UCSC Extension will use the new MBEST facilities to expand its continuing education programs. UCSC Extension has been an active part of the Fort Ord reuse effort from the beginning, offering a variety of courses and programs at the MBEST Center. The extension facilities in the new MBEST building complex will include a state-of-the-art computer lab and several new classrooms. Extension is planning new and expanded programs in several areas, including computer and information technology, business administration, and teacher training.

"The new building will house an unusual combination of private businesses, government agencies, and educational institutions, and we expect the synergies between the various tenants to catalyze further enterprise development in the region," Martin said.

Space is still available for lease to new tenants. The building complex is designed to accommodate a variety of tenants, including light industrial, research and development, and office uses. Martin said she expects the business incubator to attract companies in the fields of information science and technology; telecommunications; environmental and marine sciences, technologies, and instrumentation; agricultural research and technology; and other emerging technologies.

"The Monterey Bay Crescent is home to a remarkable concentration of educational and research institutions that provide a solid foundation for sustainable economic development," Martin said.

The MBEST Center also has a variety of tenants located in other buildings, including the U.S. Geological Survey's Water Resources Division, Pacific Cetacean Group (a nonprofit involved in marine mammal research and education), HOBI Laboratories (hydro-optic biological instrumention), EnergyTrak (an environmental technology company), and The Spot (offering workforce training).

In addition, the MBEST Center has land-lease agreements with Dynasty Farms, which operates a certified organic farm on 130 acres of MBEST property, and Don Chapin Company, a general engineering contractor.

Construction of the new headquarters building was funded by grants from the federal Economic Development Administration and the Community Development Block Grant program. Other grants to the UC MBEST Center, in partnership with the city of Marina and the Fort Ord Reuse Authority, have funded over $6 million in new infrastructure, including a roadway, utilities, and other services to a roughly 55-acre site designated for the first phase of MBEST development. Further development of the site is planned after completion of the headquarters building.

The building was designed by David Baker and Associates Architects of San Francisco and constructed by Salinas-based Tombleson Inc.

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