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Three biotech firms plan moves following tax break approval

Three biotech firms plan moves following tax break approval

WORCESTER BUSINESS JOURNAL – When Olympus Corp. was scouting locations to consolidate and grow its Greater Boston operations, it landed on a prominent site in Westborough, with visibility and easy access from Route 9 and I-495 and a location in a group of offices including the headquarters of BJ’s Wholesale Club.

“We all kind of fell in love with the plot of land we selected,” said Amy Leslie, the executive director for corporate strategy management for Olympus.

Olympus, which makes medical technology in addition to its consumer-facing cameras business, was attracted to Westborough’s heralded school district and commuter rail stop, Leslie said.

A tax-incentive agreement from the town helped, too, with Westborough agreeing to a tax-increment financing deal estimated to save the company $774,000 on its tax bills. The company plans to begin work in June on the new building, which will accommodate workers being shifted from Littleton and Southborough.

Olympus was one of three firms aided for new MetroWest locations by local tax-increment financing agreements approved by the state in March. Medical device company Candela and gene therapy maker Lykan Bioscience were also approved for deals aimed at encouraging relocation or expansion by giving companies a tax discount on increased values of the properties through tax-increment financing deals, or TIFs.

Marlborough, Hopkinton deals

Candela will move its headquarters from Maynard to Marlborough thanks in part to a TIF from Marlborough valued at nearly $280,000 and state Economic Development Incentive Program investment tax credits of $500,000.

Candela, which rebranded this year from Syneron Candela, plans to move 200 office and research and development employees and hire another 100, according to the Mass. Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development.

Candela is set to occupy 50,000 square feet of a 160,000 square-foot building at 251 Locke Drive left vacant after telecommunications firm Verizon moved out.

The Massachusetts Economic Assistance Coordinating Council also approved a 10-year TIF from Hopkinton for Lykan Bioscience.

The company, which was founded in 2017 and based in Phoenix, will lease and renovate a 63,000-square-foot warehouse and create a new manufacturing facility as part of a $12-million investment. The company is expected to create 125 jobs there.

Hopkinton’s deal with Lykan is the second time the town has given financial assistance to help occupy 97 South St., a single-story, 64,000 square-foot building.

Its previous tenant, the pharmaceutical company Lonza, got an eight-year tax break in 2007 for what Lonza said would be a $70-million investment and 300 new jobs. The deal was decertified in 2013 when Lonza closed operations.

“The town is excited that the space will be used,” said Elaine Lazarus, Hopkinton’s director of land use and town operations, calling such biotech uses a priority for the town.

Planting the Olympus flag in MetroWest

In Westborough, Olympus is planning a nearly $22-million facility to include medical labs and office operations for marketing teams, finance and information technology.

“Westborough sees it as a great opportunity for the town,” said Kristi Williams, Westborough’s interim town manager, calling the project site a major draw for the company.

Olympus, which has its American headquarters in Eastern Pennsylvania, is proposing a 150,000-square-foot facility where it would move 400 employees and grow by as much as another 100. Due to make the move when the new facility opens in February 2021 are workers in Olympus’ surgical technologies and manufacturing operations in Southborough and those at Image Stream Medical, a Littleton health technology company Olympus bought in 2017.

Olympus also has more than 400 employees in a 120,000-square-foot space in Waltham specializing in scientific product sales and manufacturing, helping to make Greater Boston a major center of operations for Olympus.

The Westborough facility is planned for a highly visible spot in the Westborough Office Park. Park developer Carruth Capital of Westborough plans 755,000 square feet of new office space on the east side of West Park Drive, which is most visible from I-495.

“We thought that was an amazing opportunity to have that presence,” Leslie said of the location.

This article by Grant Welker originally appeared here.