Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., the state’s largest biotechnology company, will venture into real estate development with plans to build a roughly 1 million-square-foot research and development campus on a portion of a vacant 100-acre parcel in the town of Greenburgh.
Purchased last year for $73 million by Loop Road Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of Regeneron, the undeveloped property adjoins the company’s headquarters at The Landmark at Eastview. The parcel is on the west side of Saw Mill River Road, approximately 300 feet from the intersection of Old Saw Mill River Road and Grasslands Road.
Regeneron officials told the Greenburgh Town Board this month that the fast-growing company plans to construct nine buildings totaling 1,016,190 square feet of research and development space on the site, in addition to five parking structures, some of which will be underground. Building sizes will range from 40,000 square feet to 280,000 square feet.
Solar panels will be installed on some buildings on the site and Regeneron plans to put in a central energy plant to service the entire site.
Joanne Deyo, vice president of facilities at Regeneron and an officer of Loop Road Holdings, said the goal of the expansion is to create a space that is both state-of-the-art and aesthetically pleasing.
“The idea that we could develop the site in such a way that it would feel more like a village than it would like a corporate campus had a lot of appeal to us,” said Jeff Schantz, science and technology sector leader at EYP Architecture and Engineering, the Albany architecture firm that designed Regeneron’s site plans.
EYP’s previous planning and design projects include implementation of Pace University’s master plan for consolidation at its Pleasantville campus; GE Renewable Energy’s conversion of a century-old manufacturing plant for its global headquarters in Schenectady; the Gen*NY*sis Center for Functional Genomics at SUNY Albany, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Saratoga Technology and Energy Park.
Pike Development, the development arm of The Pike Co., a construction services company headquartered in Rochester, is also assisting with the process, Deyo said.
Located in Greenburgh’s new planned economic development district, the project is zoning-compliant, said attorney Mark Weingarten, of DelBello Donnellan Weingarten Wise & Wiederkehr LLP in White Plains. Shortly before Regeneron purchased the parcel, the property was rezoned in April 2015 to allow a broad range of uses, including research and development, office buildings, retail, restaurants, banks, recreation facilities, higher education facilities, hotels and conference centers.
The company will build the campus on 60 acres of the site and leave the remaining 40 acres undeveloped.
“That could change if things change, but for now, we’re leaving it there,” Weingarten told the town board. “We recognize and say right in our application, if we decide to do anything on that piece other than leave it open for now, we would have to come back for separate approvals. So that’s just not part of this for the moment.”
Controlling those undeveloped 40 acres also “helps to protect (Regeneron’s) operations,” Deyo said, since much of the research and development it will be conducting at the site is sensitive. “Our security has to be foremost for us.”
Deyo added that one potential use for the undeveloped acreage would be to create trails geared for employees that would also be accessible to the general public.
The buildout is expected to be completed in phases over a 10-year period, with the construction timeline matching the company’s hiring needs, Deyo said.
“That’s in a bit of a state of flux right now,” she said of the company’s future employment needs. “I don’t have those exact numbers as to what we’re planning on hiring within the next couple of years, but we’re going to match (construction) to that.”
“What we’re looking to do is to create a shovel-ready environment, because we don’t know exactly when we need to build these buildings,” Weingarten said. “It could be sooner depending on the demand, but we need to have it ready to go so that when it’s time to start hiring people and it’s time to get started, we need to have the approvals in place.”
The town board will have the option to declare itself lead agency for the town’s review of the proposed project, which would then be referred to the planning board. Garrett Duquesne, Greenburgh community development and conservation commissioner, said the approval process for Regeneron’s project could take from four to six months.
Deyo said the company’s new campus “very possibly” could serve as an incentive for other biotechnology companies to relocate to the area. Referring to biotech industry hubs in the San Diego and Boston areas, Deyo said, “New companies and existing companies want to move to those areas, so one can imagine you would see the same thing here.”
A tenant since 1989 at The Landmark at Eastview, the former Union Carbide campus that is owned and managed by Biomed Realty Trust Inc., Regeneron a little more than one year ago leased an additional 116,200 square feet of space in two existing buildings on the 140-acre life sciences campus and moved into two newly completed buildings, totaling 297,000 square feet of office and laboratory space, built by Biomed for its anchor tenant. Starting with roughly 12,000 square feet of space on the campus 27 years ago, Regeneron has grown to occupy more than 1.1 million square feet in seven buildings there.
Regeneron recently hired its 5,000th global employee. Employing about 2,500 workers at its Landmark at Eastview campus, the company expects to employ about the same number at its new site, Deyo said.
“I see this as a significant win for the town,” said Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner. “I just see only positive. I’m really excited about it.”
For the second quarter this year, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals reported total revenue of $1.2 billion, up 21 percent year-over-year. Net product sales were $834 million in the second quarter, up from $658 million in the second quarter of 2015.