Innovation Park at Penn State

Pre-Development Business Planning

University Park, Pennsylvania

Mr. Dan Leri
Director, Innovation Park

Sweetland Engineering

MDG has developed 540,000 square feet of university and private-sector development, part of the total 1,034,000 that has been developed based on the Strategic Business Plan

Penn State retained Morlok Development Group in 1987 to test the viability of non-academic real estate development that would support and reinforce the University’s mission. The result of this collaboration is “Innovation Park at Penn State,” a 130-acre, 1,500,000 square foot real estate development project. Innovation Park is a central component of the University’s knowledge-based economic development mission, embodied in then President Jordan’s “Eight Point Positive Sum Strategy.” The Park has the potential for 3,000 jobs, representing employment opportunity for students and faculty; extends the University’s relationship with corporations for research grants, chairs, and other areas of support; and helps transfer technology from the University to the marketplace.

Prior to this engagement, research park plans were formulated as “feasibility studies.” Here, MDG carried out all of the activities necessary to create the first comprehensive “Strategic Business Plan,” which included a statement of Penn State’s goals and objectives, a plan of financing, marketing plan, facilities plan, implementation strategy and schedule, and business structure. MDG carefully examined the University’s R&D strengths to both inform marketing and to ensure that businesses in the park reflected them. In addition, MDG established Design Guidelines and Tenant Selection Criteria for the Park. MDG analyzed all relevant regional conditions and site feasibility, wrote a new innovative zoning ordinance with College Township to accommodate unique research park needs, and rezoned the land under the ordinance.