The Port of Vancouver, Washington, announced Monday it will start construction on a new life sciences center.

Port officials said the center will be the first dedicated space in southwest Washington for sciences like biology, botany or biochemistry.

The center will be based along the Columbia River at the site called Terminal One, which is currently home to a shuttered Red Lion Hotel.

The Port plans to use a $200,000 grant from the state to remodel about 6,200 square feet of the hotel into lab space and offices.

Along with the new center, the port also announced the signing of its first tenant: a Portland-based bio-tech company called AbSci. The company currently has 10 employees and is projected to grow to 50 by 2020.

Mike Bomar, president of the Columbia River Economic Development Council, said southwest Washington is trying to tap info the life sciences and global health sectors of the economy that contribute $12.5 billion to state’s GDP.

“Even at current levels, however, the demand for existing lab space is not being met,” Bomar said, “resulting in companies being forced to leave the region and hindering any recruitment of any new companies.”

Construction is expected to start in mid-December and be complete in February.

Schuyler Hoss, director of International Relations for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, said this lab center fits into Inslee’s larger plan to grow the industry.

“By the year 2025,” he said, “the state of Washington wants to be the preeminent location for life sciences in the world.”