In big step for SciTech Scity, EDA to make $20M investment in Edge Works

Investment will help build out what aims to be eight-story, 120,000 sq. ft. center for life science innovation

Edge Works, the long-desired life sciences, health care and tech innovation hub planned as part of the transformative SciTech Scity campus next to the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, took another big step forward Thursday when the New Jersey Economic Development Authority signed a Letter of Intent to invest $20 million in what aims to be an eight-story, 120,000-square-foot tower.

Edge Works, a $116 million project, will house laboratories, research & development spaces, office suites, coworking spaces for dozens of startups, a tech exhibition gallery and a state-of-the-art conference center.

Edge Works alone is expected to create nearly 800 construction jobs, and more than 400 permanent positions. It is part of the greater SciTech Scity project, a 30-acre campus that also will include Liberty Science Center High School, a new public STEM high school for Hudson County; and Scholars Village, consisting of 500 units of residential housing for tech-forward families and individuals.

The entire project will be officially named the Frank J. Guarini campus, after the former congressman and philanthropist who personally made a $10 million contribution. The overall project broke ground in October 2021.

Edge Works will do the type of innovative work that Gov. Phil Murphy has long desired for the state.

“Edge Works will build upon New Jersey’s legacy as the ‘medicine chest’ of the world by fueling the economic benefits of this and other industries in North Jersey and contributing to our efforts to cultivate the most diverse, inclusive innovation ecosystem in the nation,” he said.

“This new hub of innovation will support dozens of promising New Jersey entrepreneurs in the nation’s most ethnically diverse city. In turn, the hub will have access to Jersey City’s unparalleled talent pool, and all the infrastructure, academic and technological prowess right outside its doors that only SciTech Scity and Liberty Science Center can provide.”

A key focus area of Edge Works is health care and life sciences, particularly a new model of health care that emphasizes prevention and early detection of disease through the development, testing, and adoption of digital home health technology.

Sheba Medical Center, a leading Israeli hospital, previously was named an anchor tenant. It will be creating Liberty Science ARC HealthSpace 2030, a “hospital of the future” simulation space on the top floor of Edge Works.

State officials said Edge Works’ tenant companies will benefit from STS’ collaboration with colleges and universities to advance real-world applications for cutting-edge science and technology. The 170,000-student-and-faculty academic ecosystem that STS is bringing together includes Fairleigh Dickinson University, Hudson County Community College, New Jersey Institute of Technology, NYU Tandon School of Technology, Princeton University, Rowan University, Rutgers University and Stevens Institute of Technology, state officials said.

STS will work with these institutions to showcase their most important innovations and promote their research and talent to the venture capital and corporate innovation communities.

Liberty Science Center CEO Paul Hoffman obviously was thrilled by the news.

“We are grateful to Gov. Murphy and the NJEDA for the state’s investment in SciTech Scity,” he said. “For 30 years, Liberty Science Center has inspired the next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators. We look forward to our expanded mission of starting new companies that use science and technology to address humanity’s greatest challenges and create a better future for all of us. Edge Works and SciTech Scity are guided by the vision that the best way to predict the future is to create it.”

EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said the project follows the mission and vision of the EDA and the state.

“Edge Works clearly aligns with Gov. Murphy’s vision for strategic innovation centers and continued leadership in the life sciences and health care,” he said. “We are thrilled to work with the STS team to make this promising concept come alive and ensure North Jersey reaps the educational, economic, and job creation benefits of the high-growth life sciences sector.

“The Letter of Intent announced today, and the planned investment will help to generate high-quality jobs in the near-term, but also plants the seeds for the career opportunities and economic activity the companies that grow at Edge Works will create long into the future.”