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SPRINGFIELD, MA-York Street LLC, a developer of real estate for biotechnology manufacturing, development and research reached an agreement with three Massachusetts-based companies to work together to construct a large-scale biotechnology manufacturing facility in the state.

The group has already acquired the development rights to the former Hamden County Jail in Springfield, a 153,000-sf facility, which it will convert to biotech manufacturing use. Samuel J. Kline, managing partner at York Street tells GlobeSt.com that they are also in talks with the city which wants to see a biotech manufacturing park in the area.

Kline explains that the high real estate costs in the eastern part of the state–the state’s biotech center–make it difficult to do biotech manufacturing. He points out that as companies move out to the western part of the state the costs become more competitive but companies are still close to the research centers. He adds that biotech manufacturing also requires a fairly educated labor pool, which makes it difficult for companies to set up facilities in countries with low labor costs. But Western Massachusetts is home to an educated labor force due to the proliferation of colleges in the area.

The York Street entity was created by agreements with PAREXEL International Corp., a leading biopharmaceutical outsourcing organization; BioMetics Inc. a leading biomedical process management company focusing on process definition, development and scale-up; and, Shooshanian Engineering Inc. a mechanical and electrical engineering consulting firm specializing in study, design and construction services of biotechnology facilities. Kline says that each of these companies service the biotech community in different ways and “between us we have contacts in the whole industry.”

He says that they have started marketing this space and have had some “interesting conversations.” Lease rates for the space depend upon the use a company has for the space, but Kline notes that it will be 22% lower than a similar site in Cambridge. Kline adds that the manufacturing park the city wants to see built will have property for a pilot manufacturing facility as well as full scale manufacturing space next door. The city, he emphasizes, is being very supportive and is providing tax incentives for the project. The state has not yet provided any similar programs.

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