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Bucks commissioners OK state award of $2 million for Pa. Biotechnology Center expansion

By James Boyle, staff writer

The Intelligencer

 

 

The Bucks County commissioners unanimously approved a $2 million state grant that will aid the expansion of the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center in Buckingham.

 

With their vote Wednesday, the commissioners accepted the agreement between the biotechnology center and the state, and agreed to act as the facilitator for the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP).

 

"Every entity that applies for the RACP grant has to have a cooperation agreement with one of the governments to move forward," said Lynn Bush, executive director of the Bucks County Planning Commission. "We are basically the go-between for the company and the state agency."

 

Plans have been in motion for years to add more laboratory and office space to the Biotechnology Center. The state grant and a $4.6 million federal grant will contribute to the overall costs of the project, estimated between $12 million and $13 million. The remainder will be financed with a conventional loan awarded by Univest Bank.

 

"We're thrilled to continue our partnership with the biotechnology center and allow them the opportunity to grow and expand in that area," said Bucks County Commissioner Robert Loughery. "The center has become a real success story for the county and the region."

 

A groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion was held in April, but actual construction has yet to begin. Before work could begin in earnest, Bush said Thursday afternoon the plans need to go before the Buckingham Board of Supervisors for final land development approval.

 

The Biotechnology Center is credited with contributing approximately $1.8 billion to the local economy and supporting more than 700 jobs since its creation in 2007. A partnership with the Hepatitis B Foundation and Delaware Valley University started the initiative, but disagreements on the center's management ended the relationship.

 

The Hepatitis B Foundation bought out the university's interests in the center for $2 million in October, ending the disagreement and restarting the stalled expansion plans.

 

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James Boyle: 215-345-3066; email: jjboyle@calkins.com; Twitter: @jamesboylejr

Paid for by the Friends of Rob Loughery