Mayor James West joined the boards of SIRTI and the SIRTI Foundation for the SIRTI Technology Center (STC) groundbreaking ceremony the morning of March 29, 2005. Due to weather restraints, the event was held in the SIRTI boardroom, not on site. Approximately 80 business, technology and higher education leaders attended. The growth of the region’s biosciences, especially its biomedical activities, has provided significant motivation to undertake the project. The SIRTI Technology Center intends to fill the need for more infrastructure and boost Spokane’s economy in the process.
Nancy Isserlis, Chair of the SIRTI board, and Steve Helmbrecht, Chair of the SIRTI Foundation board, hosted the ceremony. Isserlis thanked everyone who has helped with the project saying, “Our community is a much better place for the efforts of all these people.”
Mayor West noted, “This building is one of the bricks in the fabric of the Spokane community and Eastern Washington as a whole.” He also emphasized that the STC is seen as an important part of an effort to turn the Riverpoint Higher Education Park into a biotech-health care center that will create jobs and attract companies to move here. “You can feel the energy in Spokane. You can feel a lot of things happening.”
The SIRTI Technology Center will introduce 39,000 square feet of space dedicated to clinical research and commercialization to the greater Spokane market. The two-story building will feature approximately 12,000 square feet of wet labs, 10,000 square feet of office, and 8,000 square feet of flex space for a variety of uses.
Helmbrecht emphasized that the SIRTI Technology Center is not just another building; it will be a home for encouraging innovation. “This isn’t just about the building. It is about the people and ideas that will be working inside,” Helmbrecht said.
“The Tech Center will come alive when we fill it with innovators who make a difference.”
Jack Heath, CEO of Washington Trust Bank, also spoke, as the bank has played a key role in helping finance the project. Heath spoke of the good the STC will do for the area’s economy, especially in generating more jobs in the area. “We are really going to create some synergy for this plan going forward,” Heath said.
To conclude the event, shovels were ignored. Instead of tossing dirt, the six dignitaries of the event signed and dated red blocks of drying concrete that will be placed outside of the new building to symbolize the role of “stepping stones” that SIRTI, the SIRTI Foundation, the EDA, Spokane, and Washington Trust Bank have played in helping the STC come alive.
Robert Goebel is the general contractor for the project, located at the corner of Pine and Riverside, south of Trent Avenue. The SIRTI Technology Center is expected to open doors sometime in November.