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PETERSBURG, VA-Boehringer Ingelheim Chemicals Inc., a subsidiary of Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim Corp., has announced the initial $52 million phase of a three-segment expansion plan that could cost as much as $260 million upon its scheduled completion in 2011. The total investment to realize the massive increase of Boehringer’s chemical manufacturing plant in Petersburg Industrial Park will mark the largest biotech investment here. Boehringer is not yet revealing the size of the proposed addition, however the growth endeavor is expected to create over 100 new positions.

“This is the latest in a string of mega biotechnology investments in Virginia, following the Howard Hughes Medical Institute campus in Loudoun County, and the Eli Lilly investment in Prince William County,” says Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner.

Located at 2820 N. Normandy Dr., Boehringer has been a substantial employer in the city since 1976, when the facility was operated under the name of Lee Laboratories Inc. According to Petersburg real estate assessment records, Boehringer owns four parcels totaling 197 acres in the heavy industrial park. To date, the company has developed only 20% of the land, so the capacity for continued expansion over the years is great. Currently the property is home to a batch organic chemical production plant, a hydrogenation plant and a specialty production structure for controlled substances.

While both state and local organizations campaigned for Boehringer to make its expansion at its Virginia plant, the governor himself sealed the deal by traveling to the company’s global corporate headquarters in Ingelheim, Germany. “They closed the deal last week,” Jill Lawrence Vaughan of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership tells GlobeSt.com. “The fact that it happened while the governor was in Europe is very important to us because we plan those trips.”

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