Kent State Inks Lease for Anchor Tenant in Centennial Research Park
Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton and AlphaMicron Chief Executive Officer Dr. Bahman Taheri announced last week that a lease agreement has been executed that will enable AlphaMicron to expand its manufacturing operations into most of Kent State’s Centennial Research Park.
The 41,000-square-foot research park will house two high-tech start-up companies that have their roots in liquid crystal research activities launched at Kent State. AlphaMicron, founded in 1997, is a successful venture that has licensed Kent State technology and used that knowledge and a plethora of its own technical prowess to become a manufacturer of high-tech consumer products containing advanced liquid crystal applications. The company was founded by current and former Liquid Crystal Institute faculty members. AlphaMicron produces products such as liquid crystal-infused motorcycle helmet visors and sunglasses.
Initiated in a former bus garage, Centennial Research Park was launched in mid-2007 as a business accelerator for local high-tech companies. All of the companies that ultimately will fill the building provide well-paying jobs for the local economy; many also employ master’s and doctoral level graduates from Kent State.
"We are pleased and proud to see that our vision for Centennial Research Park — technology-based economic development, job creation and stemming the 'brain drain' from Northeast Ohio — has come to fruition," Lefton says. "We expect this and future facilities further to reinforce Kent State’s established position as both a premier research institution and a contributor to the vitality of the local economy."
The agreement was signed by Kent State, AlphaMicron and University Development Group Inc., a nonprofit corporation that will serve as the landlord for the research park. Development of the research park is a critical component of the university’s FLEXMatters initiative, which has the mission to build an industrial cluster in Northeast Ohio for the research, development and production of flexible liquid crystal displays, electronics and photovoltaics.
"Our partnerships with companies such as AlphaMicron show that Kent State’s research passion for liquid crystal technology is aligned with the needs of forward-thinking entrepreneurs who know how to translate technology into products from which we can all benefit," says Kent State Vice President for Research Dr. John West. "The laboratory success is only part of the equation, and we are proud to have partners that can make it all happen."
"AlphaMicron is very excited to become the anchor tenant in Kent State University’s Centennial Research Park," Taheri says. "We believe that the mutually beneficial relationship between AlphaMicron and Kent State can be used as a model to enhance further growth of liquid crystal-based industry in this region."
It is expected that AlphaMicron will move into the research park in early 2009. Centennial Research Park is located at the intersection of State Rts. 59 and 261.
By Kimberley Sirk