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Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, Biogen Idec, Van Andel Institute

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Torrey Pines Finishes Port St. Lucie, Fla., Construction Three Months Early; Eyes Mid-November Move
 
The Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies received a certificate of occupancy last week for its $40 million, 103,000-square-foot new facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla., in a ceremony held in the building’s front lobby after contractor Suffolk Construction Co. finished work three months ahead of schedule.
 
Of the half-dozen research institutions drawn to Florida by about $1 billion in state and local subsidies, Torrey Pines is the first to complete its facility. "It's quite a thrill for me to have ideas on paper and see them materialize," Torrey Pines president Richard Houghten said at the ceremony, according to Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers.
 
He said Torrey Pines' 27 staff members still are a few weeks away from making the move out of their temporary home at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in Fort Pierce, Fla. That staff is expected to grow to 40 by February.
 
Daniel Rodenberger, the institute's facilities director, told the newspaper group he expects the building to look ready for occupancy by mid-November.
 
Torrey Pines is the anchor tenant in the 150-acre Florida Center for Innovation at Tradition, within the 8,330-acre Tradition mixed-use master planned community in Port St. Lucie. Tradition will also include the six-building, 410,000-square-foot Mann Research Center; and a new 130,000-square-foot facility for the Oregon Health & Science University’s Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute.
 
In January, VGTI scientists will move into temporary space on the third floor of the Torrey Pines building, where they will be based over the next two to three years while construction progresses on VGTI’s own permanent research facility.
 
Torrey Pines, based in La Jolla, Calif., has committed to creating at least 189 jobs over the next decade — in return, receiving a $90 million package of economic incentives from the state of Florida and city of Port St. Lucie.
 

Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies
 

 
Biogen Idec Eyes Move Within Massachusetts, from Cambridge to Weston
 
Biogen Idec, one of Massachusetts’ largest biotechnology companies, is considering a move of its headquarters within the state from Cambridge to Weston, the Boston Globe reported last week.
 
Biogen Idec CEO Jim Mullen told the Globe his company is in "reasonably well advanced" negotiations to lease a 350,000-square-foot building set to be built on Boston Post Road, just west of the routes 128 and 20 interchange in Weston. The company is also considering expanding in Cambridge or moving to an alternate site in Waltham.
 
That confirms an Aug. 1 report in the Boston Business Journal, which cited “several real estate sources” in reporting that the company was scouring sites in Weston and Waltham for “as much as 300,000 square feet.”
 
The company plans to make a final decision by the end of the year, Mullen said, adding: "The Weston site looks like it is the best fit for what we are doing.”
 
A move is not expected to take place for about two years. Boston Properties, which owns the Weston site, would not comment on talks with Biogen Idec — though Susan Haber, Weston's town planner, told the Globe the company has secured the necessary permits to build.
 
Even if it moves its HQ to Weston, Mullen plans to keep Biogen Idec's research operations in Cambridge’s Kendall Square, near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and retain a drug manufacturing plant in that city.
 
Biogen Idec has 1,600 employees in Cambridge and another 200 in Wellesley, Mass.
 

 
Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich., Tops Off $170M Phase II Expansion
 
Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich., last week marked the installation of the final beam in its $170 million, 240,000 Phase II building expansion with a topping off ceremony.
 
The facility, set to open in late 2009, will more than double the institute’s lab space, and create capacity for another 500 biotech jobs. The expansion will also allow VAI to broaden its research focus from cancer to include neurological disorders, specifically through a new lab dedicated to Parkinson disease research.
 
Phase II, designed by architect Rafael Viñoly, completes the physical facility first planned in 1996. The addition is located directly to the west of the existing facility, fronting North Division Avenue and bordering Crescent Street in downtown Grand Rapids, within the city’s “Medical Mile.”

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