Grand Rapids — Michigan State University says its new $88.1 million biomedical research center in Grand Rapids will help strengthen the area’s economic future.

A groundbreaking is Thursday for the East Lansing school’s Grand Rapids Research Center. The six-story, 162,800-square-foot facility will include workspaces and five core labs that will benefit researchers and MSU College of Human Medicine scientists.

The building approved earlier this year by the school will be on the site of the former home of The Grand Rapids Press newspaper in downtown.

School President Lou Anna K. Simon says it will be “a magnet attracting business in life sciences and growth in the biotechnology sectors.”

The building will occupy about half of the property, leaving the door open for future developments. The research center is planned to open late 2017.

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