Feb. 11-17, 2000
Research park planned for Blue Ridge Hospital site
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Research park planned for Blue Ridge Hospital site

By Rebecca Arrington

The University plans to develop a research park on its Blue Ridge Hospital property, at the foot of Monticello Mountain. Legislation introduced at the General Assembly last month would lay the groundwork.

U.Va. will transfer the property, just south of Interstate 64 and east of Route 20, to its real estate foundation. The foundation also plans to lease 32 acres of the 159-acre parcel to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation for a new Monticello tourism and visitors center, according to the bill, introduced by Del. John H. Rust (R-Fairfax) at the request of Gov. James S. Gilmore III. Del. Mitch Van Yahres (D-Charlottesville) and Del. Paul Harris (R-Albemarle) are co-sponsoring the legislation.

Plans for the new research park, a "high priority" of the University's, are preliminary, said Tim Rose, chief executive officer of the U.Va. Foundation. The existing buildings at Blue Ridge would be demolished, except for three that have historic significance, Rose said. However, there is no cost estimate, timetable or name for the project as yet.

The foundation hopes to attract biotechnology, engineering and information technology businesses to the site, similar to those already in place at the Fontaine and North Fork research parks, Rose said. The new park will provide about 500,000 square feet of building space, which is slightly larger than Fontaine and about six times smaller than North Fork.

According to a summary of the bill, it would "authorize the Governor to convey Blue Ridge Hospital on such terms and conditions in a manner that respects the historical and environmental significance of Monticello Mountain."

U.Va. decided to close Blue Ridge Hospital as a cost-saving measure in 1994 and began relocating inpatient medical units that year. Several facilities that remain will be moving soon. The U.Va. Health System's day-care center will move into a new facility on Estes Street off of 9th Street in the spring. Two interdisciplinary centers also will relocate in March: the Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interaction will move to a leased house on 15th Street Southwest across the street from McLeod Hall, and the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy will move into the building next to Stacey Hall on West Main Street.

To track the progress of this and other bills, visit U.Va.'s Governmental Relations web page at: http://www.virginia.edu/~govrel/home.htm


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