At San Diego State University (SDSU) a new innovation district will make way for laboratory and incubator spaces where students and faculty can study alongside and collaborate with businesses working on groundbreaking research projects. The innovation district is part of a larger scheme at the university, dubbed Mission Valley, that will add 80 acres of park space and up to 4,600 market-rate and affordable housing units in addition to a stadium, retail, and a hotel. Its construction will allow SDSU to “expand its academic and economic impact on the region.” According to the university, it will serve “a national hub for biotech, life sciences, technology, defense, and hospitality and tourism.”
Earlier this month SDSU announced that the first phase of the forthcoming innovation district, a component of the larger Mission Valley scheme, will be developed by LPC West. Working alongside LPC West to realize the project are Swinerton in the role of general contractor, LEVER as the lead design architects with Ferguson Pape Baldwin Architects (FPBA) as associate architects, and James Corner Field Operations as the landscape architect.
This construction and design team will develop over 300,000 square feet of space for research, laboratory, and office use that will be realized as individual hubs with particular focus areas. When completed the innovation district will house 1.6 million square feet of laboratory and research space.
“This is momentous for SDSU. The innovation district is the very heart of the Mission Valley project. It is the vital step in reaching our educational, research, and economic goals as a university, which is critically linked to the workforce needs of the region,” said SDSU president Adela de la Torre in a statement. “Everything about the innovation district is about enhancing research activity and providing leading-edge educational experiences for our students so that we can accelerate the future economic growth of San Diego. For the first time since we moved to the Mesa, it will also give our campus the sheer space to grow. Every aspect of this project is designed to support itself financially, and to strengthen our collaboration with the private sector so that we can turbocharge our contribution to the region’s economy.”
Included in these new spaces are laboratories and offices that can accommodate a range of programmatic needs, among these coworking incubator labs, mid-sized office suites, and space for larger anchor tenants. A number of health- and technology-oriented businesses have already signed on to set up operations in the innovation district, including QuidelOrtho, Naval Health Research, and Family Health Centers.
Mission Valley’s innovation district is envisioned as a campus connected by landscaped pathways and sprawling grassy lawns with plazas with public art pieces interspersed throughout. Two parking structures on the site will support individuals working at or visiting the campus while also allowing capacity for sport and entertainment events at a new 35,000-seat stadium, a soccer and football arena designed by Gensler in an earlier phase of the overall Mission Valley project.
“LPC West is excited to leverage San Diego’s incredible climate, active community, and innovative startups to attract the nation’s best-in-class researchers and facilitate meaningful relationships between the university, students and alumni, and local businesses and entrepreneurs,” added Executive Vice President of the San Diego Region for LPC West, Scott Moffatt.
LPC West and the design team are committed to realizing a project that achieves sustainability standards. It will target Healthy Building Certifications and LEED Silver or higher. While design details have yet to be finalized, plan is for the campus will consider water conservation, energy efficiency and carbon reduction. LPC West says it plans to use mass timber to design the district’s facilities and is working with Timberlab, a Portland, Oregon–based construction company.
Construction on this first phase of the innovation district is planned to begin in 2024, with the hope for the campus to be completed in 2026.