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Commissioner’s Resignation a Concern for Biomedical Hub

Vanessa Hickman has resigned as Arizona's State Land Commissioner to become a faculty associate at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Photo credit: Phoenix Business Journal

Vanessa Hickman has resigned as Arizona’s State Land Commissioner to become a faculty associate at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Photo credit: Phoenix Business Journal

By Angela Gonzales for Phoenix Business Journal

Jan. 9, Vanessa Hickman submitted her resignation letter to Gov. Doug Ducey, notifying him that Monday, Jan. 12 would be her last day as state land director of the Arizona State Land Department.

Now we know why. Or, at least, partly why. She now is a faculty associate at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

But she will still have her hand in land issues.

Hickman said she will focus on issues important to landowners across the state and nation, including natural-resource management, real estate planning, related policy and economic impacts.

Future of Biomedical Campus

Now that the state land commissioner has resigned, the developer of the proposed biomedical corridor near Mayo Clinic’s hospital in north Phoenix is worried about the future of his $1B project.

Marvin Suomi, president and CEO of KUD International LLC, said he was hoping for a state land auction in May or June, but now said that may be delayed until Vanessa Hickman’s replacement is named. So far, he has invested $2M in prep money into the biomedical research park he hopes to build near Mayo Clinic’s hospital.

In December, Arizona State University was successful in its bid to take a 24-acre parcel of land near the Mayo hospital to build a health education and bioscience research campus (AZBEX, July 9, Dec. 19).

That was the first step toward the biomedical research park that KUD plans to lease from the Arizona State Land Department to develop facilities and companies that could create as many as 30,000 high-tech, high-wage jobs.

When completed, it is expected to be one of the nation’s largest research parks.

Suomi remains hopeful. “It will be hard for me to imagine that we don’t still have the support we need from all quarters,” he said. “But nevertheless, we still need someone to talk to.”

Original headlines: Why Vanessa Hickman resigned as state land director and State land commissioner’s resignation causes concern for Phoenix biomedical hub