Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has led a team of community partners in using a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to hire AngelouEconomics to develop marketing and land-use plans for the 1,600 acres of property in north Richland known as the Research District. Currently home to 5,000 employees and 85 businesses including PNNL and Washington State University Tri-Cities, community leaders are positioning the Research District to create the Tri-Cities as a regional technology center similar to the Research Triangle in North Carolina.
"PNNL has been the key driving force to moving this study forward in looking at the Research District and how it can benefit the economy of the region," said Carl Adrian, president and CEO of the Tri-Cities Industrial Development Council, TRIDEC. According to AngelouEconomics, "research conducted at PNNL greatly enhances the region's image in the technology community and as the area's largest employer, PNNL will positively impact the economy through the realization of its long-term growth plan."
Listed among the selling points of the Research District are the low cost of doing business, technical capabilities (citing the location of PNNL and WSUTC inside the Research District), land availability, and the highly educated workforce, including a very high number of PhDs per capita. Chris Engle, vice president of AngelouEconomics said "The primary draw for science and technology businesses to locate to the Research District will be the opportunity for collaboration with PNNL."
In a recent presentation during the rollout of AngelouEconomics plans, Len Peters said "We agree that the Research District, with its space availability and other features, is perfectly suited for locating dynamic new companies around PNNL." Laboratory management was excited about the work AngelouEconomics did and is on board to support efforts to bring more science and technology businesses to the Research District in Richland.
The Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.