Architect And Program Manager Selected For Max Planck Florida Institute

December 9, 2008

The Max Planck Florida Institute has selected Washington, D.C.-based Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects, LLP to design their 100,000 square-foot biomedical research facility on six-acres at Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) MacArthur Campus in Jupiter, Fla. The financial and professional services firm, Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc., will serve as the program manager to oversee development and construction for the project, which was the recipient of a total of $188 million from the state of Florida’s Innovation Incentive Fund and Palm Beach County. This will be the first time in its 60-year history that Germany’s Max Planck Society has established an Institute in the United States.

“We conducted a national search for firms with the specific experience this project requires, with special emphasis on knowledge of major biomedical research facilities and laboratory operations. All of the proposals we received were excellent; however, these two firms had exceptional national and local teams and, in some aspects, even exceeded our expectations,” said Dr. Claudia Hillinger, a representative of the Max Planck Society’s Division of International Relations. “Together, these teams will lay the foundation for a world-class facility for bioimaging research in Palm Beach County.”

The two teams were selected from five architectural firms and five program manager finalists chosen by a steering committee of Max Planck Society senior staff with extensive backgrounds in architecture, civil engineering, construction, science, scientific operations and finance.

Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects (ZGF) ( is a nationally recognized architecture, planning and interior design firm with a broad-based design practice, and a portfolio of public and private projects ranging from dense urban centers to university campuses and research institutions across the country.

Signature projects include Duke University in Durham, N.C.; Carnegie Institution for Science in Baltimore, Md.; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, N.Y.; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mass.; the University of California in San Diego and Berkeley; Microsoft in Redmond, Wash.; the J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla, Calif.; and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

ZGF has received over 400 national, regional and local design awards, including the 1991 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Architecture Firm Award; four Lab of the Year Awards from R&D Magazine; two Federal Design Achievement Awards; the Presidential Design Award; and numerous AIA awards. The firm maintains additional offices in Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York City.

“We are honored to be part of Max Planck’s first presence in the United States,” said Margaret DeBolt, AIA, Managing Partner of ZGF’s Washington, D.C. office. “Our team brings national-caliber expertise in designing large research facilities, as well as strong local intelligence. More than half of our team is located in Palm Beach County – including certified Small Business Enterprise firms – and we all look forward to making a contribution to this historic step in the development of the county’s bioscience cluster.”

The associate architect selected for the project is PGAL, located in Boca Raton. Other design team members include Research Facilities Design, a nationally recognized laboratory planning firm based in San Diego, Calif.; Bard Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers with offices in the northeast; and Palm Beach County firms Johnson Structural Group; Kimley-Horn and Associates; Gentile Holloway O’Mahoney & Associates; and Tierra South Florida.

Jones Lang LaSalle ( is the leading integrated financial and professional services firm specializing in real estate, and has broad global experience serving the life sciences field and related industries. The company’s Life Sciences Practice group provides innovative real estate solutions to the world’s leading research centers and life science companies, including institutions such as the National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins University, MIT, Harvard University and Boston University; pharmaceutical industry leaders such as Novartis, Pfizer and Amgen; and other corporate giants with life sciences facility requirements, including Johnson & Johnson, Procter and Gamble and Becton Dickenson.

With offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Tampa and Orlando in Florida, Jones Lang LaSalle was recently named development management and leasing agent for The Mann Research Center in Port St. Lucie, expected to be a premier destination for life sciences companies.

The Jones Lang LaSalle program management team will also include Palm Beach County-based RCT Engineering Inc.; JC Code & Construction Consultants, Inc.; JM Jadu; and RADISE International.

“We are honored to be selected to contribute to the development of the Max Planck Florida Institute. We look forward to providing leadership and support for this much-anticipated project,” said John A. Paccione, Managing Director for Jones Lang LaSalle in Florida.

About Max Planck Florida Institute

In July 2008, Palm Beach County approved the allocation of $86.9 million to build and operate a 100,000 square feet biomedical research facility called the Max Planck Florida Institute. It will be located near Scripps Florida on six acres at Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) MacArthur campus in Jupiter. The total value of the agreement with the county and partners in the deal, including FAU, is $94 million, with a 50-year sublease on land worth approximately $6 million and the balance allocated to items such as rent on a temporary facility and waived impact fees from the Town of Jupiter. On March 12, the Florida Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development signed an agreement for $94 million from the state’s Innovation Incentive Fund, of which $10 million has been disbursed.

The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County (BDB) played a leading role in bringing the Max Planck Society to Palm Beach County, providing a dynamic and inspiring environment that convinced the Society’s leadership that Palm Beach County was an attractive option. BDB President and CEO, Kelly Smallridge, anticipates that the research organization will support the creation of more than 1,800 jobs-both directly and indirectly-over the next two decades, and generate more than $2 billion in economic activity.

“Adding Max Planck to the Palm Beach County business community brings a strong international component to the life sciences cluster we are building and nurturing here,” said Smallridge. “Together with Scripps Florida, the Institute will position Palm Beach County as a powerful magnet for the bioscience sector around the world, and lay a new, sustainable foundation for an expanded economic base that will bring high-paying jobs with unparalleled educational and social dividends to our community. The effects of bringing the Max Planck Florida Institute to our community will be measured in historic proportions.”

Founded in 1948, the Max Planck Society operates 80 institutes in Germany and around Europe, with a staff of nearly 13,000 and an additional 12,000 researchers and visiting scientists pioneering scientific research in areas ranging from astronomy to the humanities. Among its achievements, the Max Planck Society has 17 Nobel Laureates and most recently developed the sensor currently being used on the robotic arm on NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander. The Max Planck Florida Institute plans to advance the world’s knowledge of bioimaging by using cutting-edge techniques to study the molecular process.

The Max Planck Florida Institute plans to move into temporary space at FAU’s MacArthur campus in the Spring of 2009. They anticipate breaking ground on the permanent facility in Spring 2010.