The North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) in Kannapolis has two new ready-to-go laboratory spaces entering construction that are slated to open in the first quarter of 2014 on the third floor of the David H. Murdock Core Laboratory building.

Agriculture and food-based companies are among the international groups taking advantage of pre-built laboratory space at the research facility near Charlotte.

The NCRC has over a million square feet of lab and office space under management that encompasses five buildings and the research power of nine world-renowned universities and colleges in North Carolina.

In addition to the university presence, the NCRC also houses General Mills, Sensory Spectrum, Monsanto, LabCorp and Dole Foods, Inc.

This mission of the NCRC is to improve human health through transformational research at the intersection of agriculture, nutrition and human health.

The first ready-to-go laboratory space officially opens this fall with tenants that include a start-up biotech company developing a diagnostic product related to diabetes, General Mills and Carolinas Medical Center. The ready-to-go laboratories are each 1,500 square feet and include administrative areas, bench tops, fume hoods, sinks and storage.

The demand is so high for laboratory space like this that the two new units are already 80 percent committed. “We have so many scientists and companies that are interested in the NCRC,” said Vice-President of Business Development Clyde Higgs. “Our ready-to-go labs give them a choice of space that is flexible and helps them manage costs and gives them access to all of the scientific collaborators on campus.”

The ready-to-go laboratories are proving to be an asset to regional rural economic development.

“Having a space where companies can basically plug in their equipment and start working is a strategic timing advantage that puts Cabarrus County, N.C., on the top of many people’s short lists when they are looking for a place to start-up or move their operations,” said Margie Bukowski, senior vice-president of Cabarrus Economic Development.

North Carolina State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute was among the first to move into the sprawling facility and now operate three greenhouse facilities there.

The construction of the ready-to-go laboratories is a continuation of growth that has accelerated over the last year at the 350-acre, public-private campus.