Meet the Developer Partner

Each developer team participating in the Aggie Square Phase One RFP was asked to provide a written answer to the following question: 

Please describe in a paragraph how you met the Aggie Square goals below in one or more of your projects. 


1. ADVANCE UC Davis innovation and entrepreneurship 
2. PROPEL economic development and industry partnerships 
3. CONTRIBUTE to building more resilient communities 
4. CREATE shared public spaces & sustainable environments 

A developer team consisting of Wexford Science & Technology and GMH Capital Partners was selected from a group of four finalists.  Their response to this question follows below. 

Wexford Science & Technology believes that a successful innovation district is about much more than just a compelling real estate solution. Our model is centered on creating a long-term partnership with the university to envision a dynamic environment that enables the university to meet their strategic goals for academics, research, entrepreneurial activity, corporate engagement and community inclusion.

Wexford project examples

At uCity (Philadelphia, PA) Wexford helped Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Children’s Hospital ADVANCE innovation and entrepreneurship by creating a series of small labs and entrepreneurial hang-out spaces that amplified the Science Center’s start-up services, seed funds, and programming, and provided a place for start-ups from these institutions to locate. Both Avid Radiopharmaceuticals and Spark Therapeutics began as small start-ups in these labs and have grown to become larger tenants while also being acquired by global pharma companies (Eli Lilly, bioMerieux) who have chosen to grow them at uCity. Further, Wexford brought in the Cambridge Innovation Center’s and BioLab’s unique, highly serviced small office and lab facilities that have quickly become the epicenter of Philadelphia’s start-up ecosystem.

At Cortex (St. Louis, MO) Wexford helped PROPEL Washington University in St. Louis’ economic development and industry partnership activities by creating a magnetic environment that included a portal for business (Wash U Innovations), unique convening spaces, public places and plazas, enhanced transportation options, and programming that purposefully connects university researchers, entrepreneurs, and community members with leading companies, both local and national. Working with the university to target companies that would be a good fit for Cortex, Wexford has been able to attract a number of corporate innovation centers including; Boeing, Microsoft, Centene Corporation, Square, Nestle Purina, General Dynamics and Bayer, among others. Boeing and Microsoft have grown from small centers to major building anchors. In addition, we were able to attract Associated British Foods to locate their North American headquarters in Cortex. Our activity at Cortex has also become a catalyst for over $700 million in follow-on development activities surrounding Cortex that has benefited the local community, the city and the region.

Wexford believes that innovation districts can create economic inclusion and social responsibility. At the UMB BioPark (Baltimore, MD) Wexford’s efforts with the University of Maryland Baltimore CONTRIBUTE to building community capacity and providing a sustainable pathway for the community to training and participation in well-paying, middle-skilled jobs in the BioPark. Wexford has worked with the university, the city and community groups to locate the Baltimore Community College Life Science Institute in the BioPark; create an unparalleled cooperative agreement – the Southwest Partnership – among the seven neighborhoods surrounding our development; and implement a sustainable social impact fund that is dedicated to improving resiliency and opportunity in West Baltimore.

Wexford approaches innovation districts not as a series of buildings, but as a porous, diverse, inclusive knowledge community that CREATES inclusive public spaces and an engaging pedestrian experience which can unify all of the elements of a live, work, play, learn environment. In Winston-Salem, NC Wexford worked with Wake Forest University to develop the Innovation Quarter around Bailey Park, which not only ties together over 1.2 million square feet of historic redevelopment, but also acts as the surrounding community’s front yard; hosting dozens of events each month including, community yoga, movies at midnight, farmer’s markets, concerts and one of only two major road cycling races held in the United States. Moreover, Wexford ensures that conferencing and convening spaces throughout the district are accessible to a variety of community groups and uses. Finally, Wexford contributed funding to extend the local rails-to-trails bike/pedestrian path through Innovation Quarter as well as create a series of bioswales and greenspaces connecting the CIC Philadelphia, uCity Square, Boeing, Cortex Innovation BCCC, and University of Maryland district into the larger greenway.