Sorenson Research Park, a 100-acre development at 9th West and 45th South, celebrated its official grand opening this week by cutting the ribbon for its third major tenant, the $10 million DataChem analytical testing services facility.
DataChem will help establish Utah as the cornerstone for high technology environmental testing and will impact the health and safety of Utahns and all Americans, Gov. Norm Bangerter told some 100 guests attending the Tuesday afternoon ceremonies.He termed DataChem - which has created 133 new jobs locally - a prime example of the state's goal of taking research gained in the public sector and spinning it off into private companies.
DataChem originated in Salt lake City as a division of the Utah Biomedical Test Laboratory at the University of Utah Research Park. In 1984, it was acquired from the university by the James LeVoy Sorenson family, who continue as controlling shareholders.
The company, which also has a small facility in Cincinnati, specializes in tests of industrial hygiene,, environmental and hazardous waste, and abused drugs. A bronze plaque inscribed with the DataChem motto, "Dedicated to human health and safety," was unveiled at the ribbon cutting of the new 58,000 square foot building which also houses the University of Utah Radiobiology Laboratory.
DataChem President James H. Nelson said he anticipates revenues this year of $7 million.
Sorenson Research Park is also the site of Sorenson Research, now a division of Abbott Laboratories, and the Jordan Queen restaurant and conference center, a replica of an old stern-wheeler paddleboat.
But more is coming, James Lee Sorenson, DataChem chief executive officer and general partner in park developer Sorenson Associates, told reporters at a briefing prior to the ceremonies.
Sorenson, son of James LeVoy, said a new tenant will soon be announced for the park: a division of a Fortune 500 electronics company that will build a 35,000 square foot facility and create some 300 new jobs.
Also in the negotiations stage, said Sorenson, is a 75-150 room "upscale" hotel to be built just north of the Jordan Queen which will tie in with the river boat's conference facilities. The Jordan Queen is currently open to the public for a lunch buffet as well as catered private functions.
He indicated that park developers are talking with two other companies which are interested in office and -research/development space. One, a telecommunications company, is looking for 30,000 square foot facility, and the other, involved in waste disposal, needs a 45,000 square foot western regional headquarters.
"These are not as far along," said Sorenson, adding that it would be premature to name any of the prospects. Sorenson said he doesn't see his park as being in direct competition for tenants with the U.'s Research Park but said it is clearly "an alternative." He said the covenants of Sorenson Park allow it to accommodate manufacturers and other tenants who would not fit in at the university complex.
Ralph Johnson, one of the general partners in Sorenson Associates, projected Sorenson Park will have 1.7 million square feet of completed space within 5-8 years, occupied by corporate offices, laboratories and research and "incubator" facilities.
James LeVoy Sorenson, the founder of Deseret Pharmaceutical (now Deseret Medical), LeVoy's Inc., Sorenson Research and other businesses, told those gathered for the dedication that DataChem is on the cutting edge of what will one day be a major world industry as society becomes more sophisticated and "we continue destroying the best part of ourselves, our environment."
He termed DataChem, "A small beginning but a darn smart one."