VC Firm Close to Securing $1B for Elk Run Project

Burrill & Company reportedly said that it has a $1 billion commitment from a single investor and hopes to close the deal by the end of 2010.

Burrill & Company, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, is close to securing $1 billion for the Elk Run bio-business park that is planned for Pine Island-a project that has faced delays due to the turbulent economy-according media reports.

The Star Tribune reported that G. Steven Burrill, CEO of Burrill & Company, confirmed that the company has a $1 billion commitment from a sovereign wealth fund, and that he hopes to close the deal by the end of 2010. The investment reportedly fulfills a commitment promised by Burrill, who declined to disclose further details about the investor.

Thursday morning phone calls to Burrill to confirm the progress of securing the $1 billion investment were not immediately returned.

The 250-acre bio-business park in Pine Island will be part of a larger Elk Run development-a 2,300-acre, mixed-use project that will include housing and commercial buildings along U.S. Highway 52, about 15 miles north of Rochester. It is being developed by Woodland, California-based Tower Investments, LLC.

Tower Investments announced its partnership with Burrill & Company in March 2009. In June, Tower Investments outlined plans to develop eight biotech buildings, one data center, and two commercial properties in the bio-business park by 2013.

The 11 planned buildings will together comprise more than 400,000 square feet of space.

According to project manager Geoffrey Griffin, general contractors will start bidding for the first building on Monday afternoon. Griffin said a timeline for the project has not yet been confirmed and that the company will know more once a contractor is named.

Abraham Algadi, Pine Island's city administrator, said that the $1 billion investment will not affect the plans to break ground on the first building, which is a 50,400 square-foot flex design building, in early October.

Pine Island has received more than $1.5 million in state grants to help pay for infrastructure at the bio-business park site. Critics of the project have said that its development has progressed too slowly.