The Westchester County Industrial Development Agency has given final approval of a $905,373 sales tax exemption for a $38 million renovation project at BioMed Realty’s 43-acre Ardsley Park life sciences campus in Greenburgh.
BioMed Realty is a Blackstone portfolio company, whose vast holdings are across the U.S. and U.K. It currently counts approximately 11 million square feet of space in its inventory. The Business Journal reported in August that Blackstone’s assets were valued at approximately $545 billion.
Ardsley Park features 258,754 square feet of office and lab space in four buildings. The company Acorda Therapeutics occupies 165,000 square feet of space on the campus.
The IDA’s board voted at its Dec. 12 meeting to support a renovation project for 97,000 square feet of vacant space at Ardsley Park. BioMed Realty conducted market research that revealed that smaller and startup biotech companies cannot afford the expense of outfitting their own lab space, so it created a plan to provide ready-to-occupy lab and office spaces.
BioMed plans to begin renovations in the first quarter of 2020 on Building 440 at Ardsley Park, which has 22,000 square feet that BioMed said could be ready to accommodate up to four life sciences companies by the third quarter of the year. The plan calls for Building 430, which has 75,000 square feet of space, to be renovated to house up to six life sciences companies. The work on Building 430 would be completed in the second quarter of 2021.
BioMed told the IDA that the rents for the renovated spaces would be from one-half to two-thirds of rents for comparable space in New York City, but did not provide figures.
BioMed told the IDA that the project could create 354 jobs in the county with an annual payroll of approximately $35 million. It also said that 20% of the biotech employees in New York state live in Westchester County. Other statistics cited by BioMed showed that from 2011 to 2017, employment in the biotech industry dropped by 14.3% because of a lack of proper space. Some of the new jobs would be related to construction, janitorial and building services.
Colleen O’Connor, BioMed Realty’s senior director for East Coast and U.K. markets said the company will be delivering modern turn-key flexible lab and office suites.
“These companies need move-in ready lab space quickly with flexible term lengths and we are excited to further support the life sciences ecosystem in the Westchester region by providing this critical space for the industry,” O’Connor said.
Joan McDonald, who is the chairperson of the IDA and also the county’s director of operations, said, “The biotech sector is key to Westchester’s economic future. With biotech giants such as Regeneron and Acorda Therapeutics headquartered here, Westchester County is ideally positioned for long-term growth.”