PORT ST. LUCIE — Mann Research Center plans to begin construction by the end of the year on a $10 million, 44,000-square-foot building in the Tradition Center for Innovation.
The building, designed for clinical research and trials, will be connected to Martin Health System’s new Tradition Medical Center, which is slated to open in January 2014. The Mann Research Center building is expected to be opened within a month of the hospital, Mann Research Center President John DelRusso said Friday.
“I’m just excited that we’re finally getting it off the ground, and that we can start to visualize exactly how important this is going to be to the Mann companies and to Port St. Lucie,” DelRusso said. “I’m relieved. It’s been a long, slow process to get here.”
The company has lease agreements in place for the first building, dubbed Mann Medical One, with Martin Health Systems and Florida Vision Institute.
“Having our research team in such close proximity to Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies and (Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute) Florida will allow us to improve the efficiency of studies with our research partners,” Mark E. Robitaille, president and CEO of Martin Health System, said in a prepared statement. “At the same time, having an experienced, hospital-based research team on the campus of (Tradition Center for Innovation) provides a powerful incentive to other life science organizations looking to relocate to the area.”
Having the hospital, Torrey Pines and VGTI nearby was crucial, DelRusso said.
“It’s getting very expensive for medical device and (pharmaceutical) companies to conduct clinical (trials) all over the country and have all these different sites,” DelRusso said. “Martin (Health System) gives us the ability to have research and development, clinical trials and drug development all in the same location, which is a huge advantage. I think it’s the model for the future.”
The two-story building will be the first building in the 22-acre Mann Research Center complex. The complex eventually is expected to be 410,000 square feet and will have medical offices, research and development facilities and retail space.
DelRusso said the first two buildings and the retail space should be completed by 2015, but possibly by 2014. The first building for research and development components could be done sometime in 2015 or 2016, DelRusso said. “Beyond that, it’s too soon to tell.”
The second building will be at least 40,000 square feet and could expand to 80,000 square feet. Both the first and second buildings will be physically connected to the hospital lobby.
DelRusso said the ability to do trials will help Mann Research Center draw research companies from the Alfred Mann Foundation, a nonprofit group that pumps money into research.
“I don’t want to get into names right now, but there’s a couple of Mann companies that are very interested in expanding here,” DelRusso said.