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01/31/2006 - SIRTI Technology Center Now Leasing

The sparkling new SIRTI Technology Center (STC) is now leasing space. The STC has 39,000 total square feet, of which about 29,500 sq. ft. are for lease. The building has three different types of leaseable square footage, including 10,000 for office space, 12,000 for wet labs, and 8,000 for light manufacturing. The remaining space includes two shared conference rooms, a shared loading dock, lounge space, a shared services room with copy machine, refrigerator, and vending, and even a shower for exercise buffs. “This is an incubation center for high tech businesses,” says John Overby, Technology Incubation Manager. The $6,000,000 building was made possible by an Economic Development Administration grant and a matching Washington Trust Bank loan.

The wet labs are the most unique feature of this building. Most of the wet labs are in the center core of the building for best control of air flow. Air exchange is critical for labs, and these are set up optimally. The master ventilation unit is on the building’s roof directly above the center core. The wet labs were built to conform to the highest standards and requirements specified for university laboratories. The hoods are the best available. The plumbing has all the controls for measuring waste, is certified, and complies with all of the guidelines. In addition, each lab has both compressed air and vacuum capabilities. Data ports are everywhere, but the wires will be pulled to meet the needs of the tenant. Each lab includes a separate, attached analytical lab room for experimentation.

According to Overby, the building was designed to meet tenant’s needs for twenty-five to fifty years into the future. The building is fiber enabled from the hub in the original SIRTI Building. Connectivity wire will be pulled to suit the needs of the tenant. STC comes equipped with VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol). The STC will act as the “phone company” and will provide both the connectivity and the telephones. The mechanical room has “all the electricity you’d ever need for anything.” There are vacuum system air cleaners and demoisturizers, air compressors for forced air, and fire control systems. The back-up generator sits next to the loading dock.

Those who lease space in the STC will be incubation service tenants, and are typically given three years until “graduation” – depending on their average industrial time lines. To become an incubation tenant, the applicant will be judged on attitude, skills, and goals. Taken into consideration will be the market potential and quality of the idea, and the company’s long-term goals. The STC wants clients who are engineers or scientists with knowledge of technology and, hopefully, of product development. The incubation specialists will teach the rest.

“We are here to help – to teach how to graduate successfully,” says Overby. “The process we use is incubation – how to run a high tech business. We don’t teach technology – we teach business skills – we teach how to be successful. We plan to provide good facilities and good help so companies can graduate faster.” Tenants will pay market rates for their leaseholds, but incubation and business services are included in the rent. In addition to services, the building’s tenants will form a community for mutual aid.

According to Overby, interest in STC space is high. Pondera Engineers is the first company to occupy space, and some other leases have been inked. SIRTI will announce the new tenants as they come on line.

The STC is on the Riverpoint-South Campus between Riverside and Main Avenues. The Jensen Byrd Warehouse building just to the north is their closest neighbor. To learn more about SIRTI and the STC, visit

Billie Moreland
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