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Regents approve lease that will expand UW lab space

October 10, 2022 By Greg Bump

At the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents meeting last week, the Capital Planning and Budget Committee recommended and the full Board approved a request for UW–Madison to enter into a lease for nearly 51,000 square feet at the anticipated Element Labs location at University Research Park.    

“This is a huge win for UW–Madison and our research enterprise,” Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education Steve Ackerman said. “Element Labs will provide a home for several research teams. That makes a real impact on recruiting and retaining researchers who are making groundbreaking discoveries and advancing the Wisconsin Idea.”   

Over the last five years, UW–Madison has grown its research enterprise by about 4.7% annually, and it’s currently ranked eighth in the nation, in the latest Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) survey from 2020. Peer institutions that ranked sixth and seventh average an annual growth rate of about 6.4%, according to according to 2020 HERD data. 

“UW–Madison aspires to grow its excellent research enterprise still further.” Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin said. “Adequate, high-quality space is a key contributing factor to make that possible, and space at Element Labs, located in research park and within Madison’s life sciences ecosystem, is a great step in the right direction.” 

Located at the corner of Mineral Point Road and Whitney Way, Element Labs offers 147,000 square feet of state-of-the-art laboratory and office space. Construction has begun, and the project is expected to be finished in the second half of 2023.   

Element Labs provides critical research laboratory space needed to expand UW–Madison’s ability to recruit world-class faculty. The lease provides a unique opportunity to deliver modern research laboratory space located close to campus.   

Existing research and research centers may be relocated to the Element Labs location, located five miles from campus, freeing up campus space for many new faculty to begin their research onsite and integrate into the campus research community more quickly. Transportation and other support services are being evaluated to ensure that access between campus and University Research Park is convenient.  

The lease with Element Labs will include rent and estimated operational expenses for space on 3 floors, which will escalate at 2% per year for a 15-year period, with two options to extend for five years. The operating expenses are considered net, which means they will be reconciled each year and the university will only pay for what the actual utility and maintenance costs are for the space. University Research Park (URP) will provide the building shell laboratory-ready HVAC systems and backup generator capacity. UW–Madison will be responsible for the interior finishes, including all furniture, fixtures, and laboratory equipment.    

A UW–Madison affiliate, URP is an internationally recognized research and technology park that supports early-stage, and growth-oriented businesses in a range of sectors, including engineering, computational and life sciences, tapping into the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of the UW–Madison, the city of Madison, and the state of Wisconsin.