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Study: UA tech park added $2.4B to local economy in ’07

In an example of doing more with less, the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park reported an increased economic impact over the past four years in spite of Tech Park employment being down nearly 1 percent.

The figures were released Thursday in an economic impact study by Jaewon Lim, senior economist with the UA Office of Economic Development.

The park, at 9070 S. Rita Road, had 6,175 direct jobs in 2007 compared to 6,226 direct jobs in 2003-2004, the last time an economic impact study on the tech park was completed.

Direct jobs refer to employees of the tech park’s 32 business tenants that occupied the park in 2007.

The park’s total dollar impact – which includes includes wages, sales and tax revenues – jumped 25.9 percent in the past four years, from $1.9 billion in 2003-2004 to $2.4 billion in 2007.

An additional 6,850 indirect jobs were generated in the local economy by the tech park, as well as 220 in construction, according to the report.

The park has almost 2 million square feet of developed space situated on 1,345 acres, and the next large development planned there will be a 123-room hotel and 7,400-square-foot conference center.

In September, the Arizona Board of Regents approved UA selling up to $23 million in tax-exempt bonds to finance the hotel and conference center at the tech park.

The decision came with some controversy because Regent Anne Mariucci of Phoenix dissented, believing that investing in a hotel so far from the university was a large risk for UA in uncertain economic times.

At the time, UA President Robert N. Shelton said he supported building the hotel, slated to open in fall 2010, because it would provide a revenue stream for the university.

UA is facing more than a $40 million cut to its fiscal 2009 budget in a budget proposal, which is expected to be approved by Feb. Sunday.

The park started 10 years ago with 17 tenants and is now home to 41 technology companies and business organizations including IBM, Raytheon, Canon, Citigroup and General Dynamics, according to 2009 tech park figures.

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