We often talk about how astounding the growth of the CU Anschutz Medical Campus has been over the past two decades. What’s even more exciting: With plenty of room just north of campus, we’re just getting started.
The Fitzsimons Innovation Community (formerly the Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority) stretches the reach of our campus across the old Fitzsimons Golf Course in 284 acres of planned, smart growth. We’re fortunate that though it’s an independent entity, the FIC works in close partnership with both our university and the city of Aurora to build out the biotech innovation ecosystem we’re creating. And with our recent purchase of 26 acres in the FIC for future university growth, the boundaries between our campuses are blurring even further.
Here’s an update on what’s happening on the north side of the campus.
A construction crew will be tilting up the first wall of the Bioscience 3 building next week. Many companies (72, to be exact) are already operating in the Bioscience 1 and 2 buildings, with a waitlist of over 20 additional companies drawn to the commercial-innovation testbed enabled by our talented faculty and clinical affiliates. When it opens at the end of this year, Bioscience 3 will house both new companies and ones that have grown out of existing space and are looking to expand. A fourth Bioscience building is slated to break ground in the spring.
Housing and retail
Housing stock within walking distance of campus is also on the rise — literally — with 253 new apartments and 4,000 square feet of retail space currently under construction in the new Fremont development. These units will join the 600 already in existence at 21 Fitzsimons, with an eventual goal of building up to 1400 apartments. A hotel is also in the works, possibly to break ground this year.
Two new schools are set to open in the Fitzsimons Innovation Community over the next two years. Both will start with partial enrollment, adding subsequent grades each year. Compositive Primary, a private school for students in preschool through 5th grade, will open on campus this fall; it is accepting applications for through Feb. 1 for pre-kindergarten through 1st grade students. Aurora Science & Tech, a new STEM-based 6th-12th grade public school, is accepting applications through Feb. 28 for 6th graders, who will attend school in a temporary off-campus location for the 2019-2020 year before the school opens on campus in Fall 2020.
Development on this scale brings obvious infrastructure needs. I’m pleased to report that a new parking garage is scheduled to open in early 2020 next to Bioscience 3. Longer-term plans to improve transportation access include north-south arteries — along Ursula and Scranton Roads to Fitzsimons Parkway — to alleviate congestion along Montview. The master plan for the Fitzsimons Innovation Community also includes plenty of open space and preservation of gorgeous mountain and city views.
I can’t emphasize enough how strongly this room to grow and develop commercial spin-offs of our work differentiates and distinguishes us from other academic medical campuses. We’re already one of very few in the country anchored by a public university with all five major health science schools, and nationally ranked adult and pediatric hospitals, all on the same contiguous campus. We are one of even fewer where faculty members can develop commercial ideas without ever having to move their car. It all adds up to a very bright future — for this campus, for Colorado, and ultimately for the health and wellness of people everywhere.