ASTRA Innovation Center and District
GO Topeka, is partnering with BioRealty, Inc. to develop a $14.5 million innovation campus approved by the Joint Economic Development Organization (JEDO) in May 2021. The new campus is designed to take advantage of the arrival of Plug and Play’s Animal Health / Ag Tech Startup Accelerator program. The ASTRA (Animal Science, Technology, Research, and Agriculture) Innovation Center will be a 60,000-sf project anchoring the emerging ASTRA Innovation District in downtown Topeka. This campus is being developed to take advantage of 20 global startups participating each year in the city’s new Plug and Play Animal Health accelerator program. The ASTRA Innovation Center will offer world-class facilities, including wet labs, flexible work and meeting spaces. It will feature office space for business research and innovation, as well as a rooftop venue for events.
“I am thrilled that Topeka has chosen to fully subscribe to this vision.” said Katrin Bridges, SVP of Innovation for GO Topeka. “I know it will pay huge dividends in the future in terms of higher wage jobs, opportunities for local and regional talent and investments in innovative, futureproof companies.”
“This announcement is transformational for Topeka,” said Duane Cantrell, chair of the Greater Topeka Partnership’s Innovation Advisory Board. “This innovation campus will provide a strategic advantage for Topeka, as the city defines itself as a leader in animal health and ag tech research and development for the region.”
“We are delighted to be working with a terrific partner in Go Topeka to bring a world class innovation center to Downtown Topeka,” said Stan Wendzel, managing director, BioRealty, Inc. “This initial project, which itself will have a very positive long-term impact to the region, is only the beginning step of what we and Go Topeka envision as a large, multi-phase innovation campus or district in Topeka.”
“Plug and Play is excited to see Topeka moving forward on a new innovation campus,” said Stephen Fay, director of corporate partnerships, Plug and Play. “Startups thrive when communities provide intentional space for coworking and collaboration. Topeka’s commitment to pursue this concept is precisely why we chose to partner with them, and we are excited to watch this project develop.”
“GO Topeka purchased land at the Kanza Fire Commerce Park in 2009. $1B in capital investment followed, positioning our city to become a leader in supply chain for the Midwest”, said Molly Howey, President of GO Topeka, “The ASTRA Innovation Center has the potential to be equally catalytic. This center will allow GO Topeka the ability to offer incentivized lease space to start ups and reinforce our influence in the animal health and agriculture technology sectors for years to come.”
“The Astra innovation campus in Downtown Topeka will secure this city’s role as a leader in animal health and startup entrepreneurship for years to come,” said Michelle De La Isla, Mayor of Topeka. “The effort is truly bold and visionary. I firmly believe in 20 years we will look back on this project and see that it was the beginning of a transformative era for business and innovation in the Capitol City.”
Coming in 2022. The Innovation Map is available to learn more.