Shovels Hit Dirt for $100M Biotech HQ in Suburban Philly

Work has commenced on Almac Group’s new North American headquarters campus in Lower Salford Township in Harleysville, Pa., about 30 miles outside of Philadelphia. The Craigavon, Northern Ireland-headquartered bioscience research-and-development services company will invest $100 million to develop a 240,000-square-foot facility as part of an expansion and consolidation project that will ultimately yield an office and production complex of up to 1 million square feet.The new building will allow Almac to bring its employees from offices in Audubon and in Yardley at the Lower Makefield Corporate Center under one roof. The Audubon locale sits about 15 miles south of the new site and Yardley is approximately 45 miles to the east. Officials from the local to the state level, eager to boost Pennsylvania’s standing as a U.S. bioscience hub, helped put together a $9 million incentive package for Almac to help facilitate the development. The funding, orchestrated through the Governor’s Action Team, came in the form of a $4.5 million grant from the Infrastructure and Facilities Improvement Program; a $2 million loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority; a nearly $1.3 million Infrastructure Development Program grant; and approximately $1.4 million from an additional grant, job training and job creation tax credits. The Metropolitan Philadelphia area drives Pennsylvania’s life sciences sector with, according to real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield’s most recent white paper on the life sciences sector, 18.5 million square feet of life sciences-related space occupied by educational institutions, the pharmaceutical industry and ancillary tenants. Additionally, C&W reported in its second quarter report that the suburban Philly office market is may be able to weather the country’s economic slump with more ease than other metro areas via its biotech, pharmaceutical and health care industries, which provide economic diversity and continue to pump up the job market. Almac’s new North American home base is on target to reach completion in 2010.