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Biotech Center announces plans for agriculture-technology center

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A California real-estate firm plans to build a $13.5 million agricultural technology research center near Research Triangle Park, designed to bolster the state's reputation as a hub in the industry.

Alexandria Real Estate Equities' 50,000-square-foot Alexandria Ag-Tech Center and greenhouse are scheduled to open for business next summer. They will help emerging ag-tech companies develop new products, such as drought-resistant crops or medications extracted from plant materials.

The incubator is expected to provide jobs to 30-40 scientists, but Alexandria officials did not announce tenants for their planned facility. The building will house an 18,000-square-foot greenhouse.

Gov. Bev Perdue and other officials announced the project at the N.C. Biotechnology Center in RTP this afternoon.

They said this project will be the only one of its kind in the nation because it will sub-lease greenhouse space to multiple ag-tech startups. A typical research greenhouse is used by a single company or research organization.

North Carolina is already home to more than 70 agricultural technology companies and numerous greenhouses for scientific research. The roster of ag-tech players in the state includes BASF, Bayer CropScience, Novozymes and Syngenta.

The Biotech Center is a state-supported nonprofit that helps foster the state's biotech industry.

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About the blogger

Assistant Business Editor Alan M. Wolf joined the N&O in 1999 covering the business of health care. He became an editor in 2001, and helps oversee the paper's daily business coverage and Sunday Work&Money section. He lives in Clayton with his wife and two children. Reach him at 919-829-4572 or e-mail him.