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October 2, 2000

UC MBEST Center begins construction of new headquarters building complex

By Tim Stephens

Construction began in September on the first new facilities to be built at the former Fort Ord military reservation: a headquarters building complex for the UC Monterey Bay Education, Science, and Technology (MBEST) Center.
The MBEST team on the site of the headquarters building complex now under construction. (view larger photo and detailed caption)
Credit: UCSC Photo Services

The 26,000-square-foot headquarters complex, scheduled for completion in spring 2001, will house a variety of tenants, including the MBEST Center administrative offices, UCSC Extension, the city of Marina Small Business Incubator, and other tenants.

"We are very excited about the new building, and we are especially pleased to be housing the Small Business Incubator. This joint undertaking represents an important and growing partnership between UC Santa Cruz and the city of Marina," said Lora Lee Martin, director of the MBEST Center.

UCSC 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.

The Marina Small Business Incubator plans to offer 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, thus catalyzing the creation of over 500 new jobs over the next ten years, 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.

"We are also planning several new programs that specifically address the needs of the Monterey Bay region in areas such as hospitality management," said Dale Stansbury, assistant dean for economic development at UCSC Extension.

Space will also be 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 new building and the synergies between the various tenants to catalyze further enterprise development in the region by creating a nucleus of activities and support services.

"One of our goals is to help draw new technologies into the business incubator by working with regional institutions to identify potential business opportunities," Martin said. "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 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.

Construction of the new facilities is 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 is being constructed by Salinas-based Tombleson Inc.

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