Wednesday, May 20, 2009

EDC Officials, KBP, Governor Beshear Promote Owensboro at Biotech Conference

ATLANTA-- Three years after advancing a strategy to lure high tech life science companies, significant infrastructure is in place for Owensboro to be the epicenter for plant pharmaceutical technology. The infrastructure has already attracted two small biotech companies and a significant partnership with big-pharma when Bayer AG signed an agreement with Kentucky BioProcessing last year.  

This week local officials will take their efforts to the international stage at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) Convention in Atlanta.  The BIO international convention is the largest gathering of biotech leaders, public officials, and companies in the world.  With over 25,000 attendees from over 70 countries, 1,900 exhibitors will participate.  Over 300 public officials, including Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, will attend.  

In 2006 the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation (GO-EDC) released A Strategic Plan for the Development of the Life Sciences in Greater Owensboro.  The report offered recommendations focusing on high technology developments in the life sciences as a new economic development approach. 

The competitive advantage driving the development of the emerging plant made pharmaceutical industry in Owensboro is Kentucky BioProcessing.  KBP is the world’s only full scale facility designed and built for the commercial production of plant made pharmaceuticals.  The company uses tobacco as a bioreactor to produce disease curing proteins.  Farmers are also getting involved in producing crops for use in biotechnology products through the Owensboro Biotech Alliance.   OBA has a database of regional farmers that enjoy a national reputation for compliance with USDA regulations and a willingness to grow crops for use by plant biotech companies.

 “Make no mistake; we are not trying to become a biotech cluster to compete with the likes of San Diego or Boston,” said EDC President/CEO Nick Brake.  “But we can succeed in creating a cluster of companies focusing on the utilization of our strengths, plant pharmaceuticals and plant-based natural products.  In this area between KBP, the Owensboro Cancer Research Program and the partnership with the University of Louisville, and our regional agriculture community, we have a competitive advantage not found anywhere else.”

The latest investment in the high tech infrastructure in Owensboro to support KBP and the growth of plant biotech companies is a new business and research accelerator.  The City of Owensboro with support from the Daviess County Fiscal Court are converting an 85-year-old former tobacco warehouse near downtown Owensboro into high-tech lab space for the use of tobacco to search for cures for cancer and other diseases.  The Centre for Business and Research, set to open by fall 2009, The Centre will be equipped with life science labs suitable for education of undergraduate and graduate students, externally funded university research, and incubation of many of the small biotech companies working with KBP. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Today the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation (GO-EDC) issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking a qualified developer for a new downtown hotel as part of the $120 million package of catalyst projects in the Downtown Owensboro Placemaking Initiative. 

This RFP is a solicitation process, which is expected to culminate in a negotiated agreement between the City of Owensboro and a qualified private developer to develop and construct the convention center hotel and related infrastructure. 

GO-EDC will select a developer for the Hotel project subject to the approval of the Owensboro City Commission. An RFP Review Team consisting of EDC staff, Gateway Planning consultants, and City and County staff representatives will review and recommend the potential developer.

Several state incentives may be available to the developer of this project, including, but not limited to, incentives from the Kentucky Tourism Cabinet.  In addition, the site of the proposed hotel is located in an area that qualifies for New Markets Tax Credits financing. 

EDC President/ CEO Nick Brake said respondents to the RFP will be expected to utilize hotel operators that will provide a “full service” hotel recognized by the convention and meetings markets. 

Brake said respondents are encouraged to bring to the project a team of architects and construction professionals with proven track records that meet the goals of the development, adding that the Hotel should operate as a corporate managed, national or international chain-affiliated property positioned to primarily accommodate convention and group-meeting demand. “The quality and level should be consistent with the quality of similar headquarters hotels in other North American cities,” he said.

In order to encourage broad participation by the development community and in recognition of the strong interest in Owensboro’s hotel market, developer responses to this RFP are due, August 1, 2009.  GO-EDC expects to conclude selection of a development team for recommendation and finalization by December 31, 2009.  “The RFP will be advertised both regionally and nationally in hopes of attracting strong interest among the local, regional, and national development community,” said Brake.

The Downtown Owensboro Initiative generated a market-based Downtown Master Plan (prepared by Gateway Planning Group at and a comprehensive package of catalyst projects intended to jump-start downtown revitalization. For a complete copy of the Downtown Owensboro Master Plan, see “Master Plan” under the “Town Planning and Urban Design” section of 

Please visit and click on “Downtown Development” to view the RFP executive summary or click here to obtain a downloadable and printable full RFP document.  

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Peabody, Conoco Phillips Partnership Will Create 500 Jobs in Muhlenberg County

At a time when energy is among the top concerns in America, Peabody and ConocoPhillips are developing a project to produce clean energy from secure, domestic sources. The Kentucky NewGas Energy Center would use proven technology, which would minimize environmental impacts and comply with regulatory standards to protect the environment.

Kentucky NewGas combines the strengths of Peabody and ConocoPhillips to produce pipeline quality natural gas, just like we use to heat our homes, prepare our meals and power our lives. The ConocoPhillips E-Gas™ technology creates natural gas from coal through a conversion process called “gasification.”

Coal gasification is a proven process that has been used by a number of industries for more than 100 years. Kentucky NewGas is a multi-billion dollar project in Muhlenberg County that would create new jobs and provide a major economic benefit to the region and the state. 

The project would create 1,200 jobs during the four-year construction period and over 500 long-term, high paying jobs.  It will provide up to $100 million annually in local and state economic impact through wages, taxes and other benefits.  The success of this facility may lead to additional projects that could combine the capabilities of ConocoPhillips and Peabody.

For more information please visit  To see a short informational video about the gasification process visit