WMU celebrates opening of Business Technology and Research Park North, Ascension Borgess Cancer Center

Contact: Paula M. Davis

OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich.—Western Michigan University formally marked in mid-September the opening of Business Technology and Research (BTR) Park North, situated alongside Drake Road between Parkview Avenue and Stadium Drive. This recently completed land and economic development project is the northward expansion of Western's original business park that is located nearby in the Parkview Avenue Campus.

University leaders celebrated the formal launch of BTR Park North in a joint ceremony with officials from Ascension Borgess Cancer Center and Ascension Michigan. Covering about eight acres, the cancer center is the first organization to locate within the park.

"The Kalamazoo area has a long history in nurturing business, health care, education and technology. … When a community values its people, their education and their future, it leads to advances like the expansion of the BTR and the opening of the Ascension Borgess Cancer Center," WMU President Edward Montgomery said at the event held on Sept. 15.

"Thanks to all of those who share the foresight and appreciation for creative partnerships that advance knowledge, enhance economic development, strengthen communities and support their residents."

A variety of entities and people collaborated with the University to make the 55-acre park a reality, including Oshtemo Township, Kalamazoo County Road Commission, Southwest Michigan First and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, which provided a $2.1 million grant to build out the park's physical infrastructure in the form of utilities and roadway. And the road into the park, Robert Jones Way, pays homage to the late lawmaker and former Kalamazoo mayor who was instrumental in crafting the legislation that years ago paved the way for the park's development.

This new offshoot, which crews began work on in 2019, is designed to continue the success story of Western's first BTR Park. Its 265-acre forerunner established in 2000 is home today to several dozen businesses pursuing advances in life sciences, engineering, information technology and other fields. Over the past 20 years, the original BTR Park has attracted more than $150 million in investments, generated more than 1,400 jobs and, benefiting Western students, has given rise to numerous internships, co-ops and other experiential learning opportunities.

The new park's first tenant, Ascension Borgess Cancer Center, welcomed its first patients on Sept. 20, 2021. Lynn Chen-Zhang, chair of the WMU Board of Trustees, congratulated Ascension leaders for the successful development of a new community asset that will provide crucial patient care for years to come.

"You have realized your goal of building a state-of-the-art cancer care center that will make a difference in countless residents’ lives and offer new opportunities for treatment and better outcomes for numerous individuals," Chen-Zhang said.

The cancer center is one of twelve Ascension Michigan comprehensive cancer care facilities across the state. It offers medical oncology, hematology and infusion services in a multilevel, contemporary clinical space with a patient-centered wellness program, access to prevention and early detection programs, cancer education and a full array of support services among other amenities.

"The Board of Trustees is proud to represent the University in efforts like this one that benefit our community, and we share our partners’ vision for the future that includes new opportunities, advances and developments that improve life for everyone," Chen-Zhang added.

The remaining parcels in the park range in size from three to 16 acres. For more information about parcels for sale, contact Jodi K. Milks at (269) 207-1040 or jodim@naiwwm.com.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.