Palm Beach County Board Approves $87M Grant for Planck Institute

Following unanimous approval by the seven members of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners, Germany’s Max Planck Society is moving forward with its plan to establish an institute in the United States. The County approved the allocation of $86.9 million to build and operate a 100,000-square-foot biomedical research facility called the Max Planck Florida Institute. It will be located 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 sub-lease 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. BDB president & CEO Kelly Smallridge anticipates that the research organization will support the creation of more than 1,800 jobs over the next two decades, and generate more than $2 billion in economic activity. Reached by CPN this morning, Smallridge added, “The potential benefit of bringing Max Planck to our community will be measured in historic proportions. As economic developers, nothing could ring better for our economy. Max Planck will create a broader economic base for Palm Beach County, a wealth of new knowledge-based qualified job opportunities will follow,and our children will be exposed to cutting edge scientific opportunities. The world will see that Palm Beach County taxpayers, even in difficult times, see and support this vision.” Founded in 1948, the Max Planck Society operates 80 institutes in Germany and around Europe. Among its achievements are 17 Nobel Laureates and development of the sensor currently being used on the robotic arm on NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander. The Max Planck Florida Institute plans to move into temporary space at FAU’s McArthur campus in the Spring of 2009. They anticipate breaking ground on the permanent facility in about 18 months.