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CAMBRUDGE, MA-Ending months of speculation, Genzyme Corp. has acknowledged its plans to construct a new world headquarters on a sprawling brownfields site near the Charles River. The 300,000-sf building will house more than 1,500 of the biotech company’s 4,000 employees.

“This move reflects our confidence in the future of Genzyme,” CEO Henri A. Termeer said in making the announcement, adding that the new headquarters “is an exciting milestone for Genzyme as we approach our 20th anniversary next year.” Designed by the German architectural firm Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner, the 12-story building is slated for completion in early 2003, with Turner Construction Co. selected as general contractor.

Genzyme, which also has a major manufacturing plant across the river in Boston’s Allston neighborhood, has been searching for a new headquarters for nearly a decade. Currently housed at One Kendall Square, the biotech giant finally settled on Cambridge Research Park, a 1.2 million-sf master-planned complex being developed by Lyme Properties.

The $400-million park will also feature 250 apartments, a hotel, retail space and 2,000 parking spaces. It is located on a former gas plant operated by Commonwealth Energy.

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