The focus of the BTR Park is on the development of mutually beneficial relationships that involve resident businesses, the University and the Kalamazoo community. The private-sector firms that locate at the park are recruited from three key business sectors—life sciences, advanced engineering and information technology.
The BTR Park is located on WMU’s 265-acre Parkview Campus, which also is the home of WMU’s highly regarded College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The proximity to the college and the University’s campuswide commitment to the three areas of focus mean opportunities abound for businesses to interact and partner with the faculty and students of one of the nation’s largest major research universities. The collaborations that result can range from initiatives in manufacturing engineering to the development of new products in the pharmaceutical arena.
The BTR Park is also home to two important resources:
- Southwest Michigan Innovation Center (SMIC), a state-of-the-art high-tech/wet lab business incubator, which was launched by the regional economic development agency Southwest Michigan First. The SMIC focuses on Life Science start-up companies.
- Biosciences Research and Commercialization Center at WMU, which provides commercialization expertise, research support and funding to emerging life sciences ventures.
In just over ten years, more than 50 private-sector businesses have been attracted to the BTR Park. Over 1400 direct and indirect jobs have been retained and or created. Of these businesses, eight have constructed their own facilities.
The Parkview Campus sits along U.S. 131 just north of the I-94 interchange. It is located about 3.5 miles from WMU’s main campus and approximately five miles from downtown Kalamazoo.
As a SmartZone, a portion of the tax revenues generated by resident companies is returned to the project for infrastructure upgrades.