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OU near deal to buy Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park

The deal, which could close in six to eight months, would provide more space for expansion of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center while allowing the Presbyterian Health Foundation to replenish its endowment for health-related grants.
by Don Mecoy Published: September 21, 2012

The University of Oklahoma is planning to buy the Presbyterian Health Foundation's 700,000-square-foot research park just east of downtown Oklahoma City, officials with both organizations said Friday.

Carl Edwards, Presbyterian Health Foundation board chairman, said the deal likely would close in six to eight months. The amount of the proposed deal was not disclosed.

“We have a real estate contract executed,” Edwards said. “They still have some due diligence that they are going to do.”

A sale would provide OU room to expand its research facilities. The research park, just west of the OU Health Sciences Center along N Lincoln Boulevard between NE 8 and NE 4, includes modern biomedical research lab space and offices supported by modern communications and infrastructure systems.

OU President David Boren, in a statement issued by the university, said the school and the foundation have a long history of working together to advance health care.

“The OU Health Sciences Center will use the solid foundation established at the research park as a springboard to further biomedical research, encourage commercialization of equipment and technologies, and grow jobs in Oklahoma while advancing health care,” Boren said in a statement.

“The research park will continue to be one of Oklahoma's major engines for economic growth and resource for learning, discovery and innovation in today's knowledge-based, technologically driven, global society.”

Edwards said selling the research park will allow the foundation to regain its ability to issue grants, something it has been unable to do for the past few years because of costs associated with the research park and endowment losses sustained in the 2008 stock market plunge. The foundation has awarded about $100 million in grants to health-related organizations, he said, but none in the past several years.

The research park's revenues generally have exceeded the foundation's costs, Edwards said, but the foundation also subsidizes rent for some bioscience startup companies that lease space in the research park, which is debt-free. The park is roughly 90 percent occupied, Edwards said.

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by Don Mecoy
Business Editor
Business Editor Don Mecoy has covered business news for more than a decade after earlier working on The Oklahoman's city, state and metro news desks, including a stint as city editor. He has won state and regional journalism awards for business,...
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