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A few months before opening, tenants are lining up for Charleston's latest WestEdge building

22 WestEdge rendering

A rendering shows 22 WestEdge, the third building in the development on the western side of the Charleston peninsula. Charleston City Council approved a $600,000 loan to the WestEdge Foundation so drainage and other improvements can be completed in the area. Provided/WestEdge Foundation

Tenants have a move-in date for the latest addition to the emerging WestEdge development, and the renter with the penthouse suite will be a year-old life sciences startup.

The South Carolina Research Authority has leased all of its 20,000 square feet of commercial space in the nearly completed building known as 22 WestEdge, executive director Bob Quinn said. The tenant is Vikor Scientific, a medical diagnostics and life sciences company. 

"They want to serve as a model, and as an impetus for similar companies to be coming into the region," Quinn said. 

SCRA began renovating the space for its new tenant a few weeks ago. The offices should be operational by early next year, with a move-in date set for early February, said Scotty Branch, Vikor's co-founder. 

Vikor has labs in Philadelphia and Charleston, and its core business is testing in the infectious disease and oncology fields. Branch said the company seeks to stands apart by having its staff of pharmacy experts make treatment recommendations to physicians. 

"We don’t want to just be a laboratory that provides a positive or negative result," he said. 

Founded last year, Branch said Vikor has processed results for roughly 50,000 patients and has revenue of between $60 and $70 million. The company employs about 45 workers in Charleston, where it is outgrowing out its space in the SCRA Innovation Center on upper Meeting Street.  

At the WestEdge site near the city's medical district, two buildings are already finished and include apartments and retail businesses.

A third structure, 22 WestEdge, is scheduled to finish by the end of the year. The goal from the start was to attract tenants from the biotechnology and life sciences industries. The Medical University of South Carolina and the City of Charleston joined SCRA in leasing a combined 156,000 square feet.

In turn, the organizations had to figure out what they planned to do with their respective floor spaces.

Michael Maher, CEO of the WestEdge Foundation, said the SCRA's recruitment of Vikor lines up with the original purpose of the development, which was to create work-live-play destination for Charleston's high-tech sector. 

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"It's a great confirmation of what we set out to do," Maher said. 

MUSC Health plans to move some of its senior management, including CEO Dr. Patrick Cawley, to the WestEdge project, which is on the other side of Septima Clark Parkway from its main campus. 

Also, the academic medical center will relocate some of its biostatistics and bioinformatics faculty to the offices. It has also set aside a portion of its floorplan for incubator space for researchers, a spokeswoman said.

Maher said about 60 percent of the residents at The Caroline, one of the apartment complexes at WestEdge, work or study at MUSC.

The City of Charleston decided this summer to hand its portion of the 22 WestEdge over to the Charleston Digital Corridor, a nonprofit that works mainly with tech startups, to manage. Ernest Andrade, the corridor's director, said nine of the 18 offices are spoken for. 

Mack Reese of Atlanta-based Gateway Development, a private developer working on WestEdge, said he is setting aside a portion of the fourth floor as co-working space available to rent on a short-term basis. He said it will be geared toward remote workers without formal offices.

"It will be a great complement to what the Digital Corridor is doing," Reese said.

The Harbour Club, a private business-oriented dining and social destination, is moving from its longtime location near Waterfront Park to take the entire seventh floor, or 18,000 square feet, at 22 WestEdge. 

All-told, about 65 percent of the building is leased, Reese said.

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.

Mary Katherine, who also goes by MK, is a reporter covering health care and technology for The Post and Courier's business desk. She grew up in upstate New York and enjoys playing cards, kayaking and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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