Local pols on Thursday joined medical and university officials at a groundbreaking ceremony heralding the third and final stage of SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s Advanced Biotechnology Incubator.
The incubator, which provides resources for fledgling biotech companies, is a huge step toward making Brooklyn a contender in the biotech world, said SUNY Downstate Medical Center President Dr. John F. Williams.
The third phase will double the size of the incubator to 50,000 square-feet, providing 19 new life science laboratories as well as a teleconference space and other amenities for tenant companies, he said.
The building will also be LEED certified.
Among those in attendance were councilmembers Matthieu Eugene, D-Ditmas Park and Jumaane Williams, D-Brooklyn, as well as assemblywomen Inez Barron and Joan Millman.
Borough President Marty Markowitz was slated to appear, but had to cancel due to a surprise visit from President Barack Obama to survey damages wrought by Hurricane Sandy on Staten Island.
Nevertheless, the significance of the groundbreaking was not lost on those in attendance.
"Life sciences is an important sector, and providing affordable space for them has been one of the key impediments to building a sector in the city," said Maria Gotsch, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City Fund . "This is a very important project."
Gotsch emphasized the need to keep scientists and researchers—many of whom are immigrants—in the city.
"To date, they've been creating many of those companies elsewhere, in California and Massachusetts," she said.
"This facility...will allow us to have those people create those companies, create the new drugs...and create jobs in our backyard."