Topeka, Kansas, to Develop $13M Downtown Innovation Campus

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The 70,000-square-foot campus will include wet labs, co-working, office and meeting space and a rooftop for events

GO Topeka, the economic development group for Kansas’ Capital City, has announced plans to develop a $13 million downtown innovation campus. Photo courtesy of GO Topeka.

“This is an exciting new step in securing Topeka’s status as a hub of innovation in the Midwest,” said Katrin Bridges, SVP of innovation, GO Topeka.

GO Topeka, the economic development group for Kansas’ Capital City, today announced plans to develop a $13 million innovation campus. The new campus is designed to take advantage of the arrival of Plug and Play’s Animal Health / Ag Tech Startup Accelerator program.

20 global startups will be introduced to Topeka each year. This campus will be developed to offer them research and development spaces as they consider the city as a long-term home for operations.

The campus, which will locate in downtown Topeka, will offer world-class facilities, including wet labs, co-working and meeting spaces. It will feature office space for business research and innovation, as well as rooftop space for events. The campus will total approximately 60,000 square feet in size.

“This is an exciting new step in securing Topeka’s status as a hub of innovation in the Midwest,” said Katrin Bridges, SVP of innovation, GO Topeka. “This campus will serve as an anchor of a new and vibrant innovation district in downtown Topeka. I am confident it will ignite growth in our entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

The project developers, BioRealty, Inc. will partner with the Joint Economic Development Organization (JEDO) to fund the expansion.

“This will be an excellent addition to our community,” said Rhiannon Friedman, president of Downtown Topeka, Inc. “The innovation campus will serve as an important asset as DTI works to attract new businesses, development and retail to our downtown core. BioRealty and GO Topeka’s vision for this project is a tremendous vote of confidence in the future of our downtown.”

The construction of the campus is expected to create 20-40 full-time jobs in the coming years, with an anticipated annual economic impact of $8.3 million. Over 10 years, the total economic impact is expected to reach $1.345 billion.

"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.”

In August 2019, Plug and Play selected Topeka for its first Animal Health and Ag Tech Accelerator Program. Topeka is centrally located within the KC Animal Health Corridor, home to more than 300 animal health companies, representing the largest concentration in the world. In April 2021, Plug and Play selected its first batch of startups for its animal health and ag tech program. Ten early- and mid-stage startups from numerous U.S. states, Canada and Singapore were selected after a pitch competition in March 2021.

“This is a historic day for our community. The vote to support funding for an 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.”

The exact location of the campus will be announced at a later date.

About GO Topeka
GO Topeka creates opportunities for economic growth that provide a thriving business climate and fulfilling lifestyle for Topeka and Shawnee County. GO Topeka operates under the Greater Topeka Partnership, the leading economic development agency in the region. https://www.gotopeka.com/

About Greater Topeka
The Greater Topeka area in Shawnee County represents a community of 178,915 people, located in the Greater Kansas City region. As the state capital of Kansas, Topeka is home to a dynamic employer base with headquartered companies including Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Advisors Excel, Security Benefit, Capitol Federal and Evergy. Topeka is proud to be a part of the #KCHeartland.

About the KC Animal Health Corridor
The KC Animal Health Corridor, anchored by Manhattan, Kansas, and Columbia, Missouri, is home to more than 300 animal health companies, representing the largest concentration in the world. KCanimalhealth.com

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Christina Forrest
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